When Fifth Harmony‘s Lauren Jauregui first entered the music industry at age 16 as a contestant on X Factor, she said the show’s critical, public eye was dangerous for her. The Cuban-American singer hadn’t publicly come out as bi-sexual when the show was airing, but she says her fans were already questioning her sexuality over her every move.
“That messed me up, growing up in the public eye when I was a teenager,” Jauregui told Out. “That’s when everyone is trying to find themselves.”
Now, five years later, the young pop star said activism plays a huge part in her musical career and takes pride in her bi identity, collaborating with Halsey for the song “Strangers” that narrates an unrequited love story betwen a same-sex couple.
Jauregui also revealed that the song wasn’t originally going to be about two women but that Halsey — who is also bisexual — approached her about switching the pronouns. “I got a text from her: ‘Hey, babe, you can totally shut this down, but I was thinking we could switch the pronouns,'” Jauregui said. “I was like, ‘Bitch, I was thinking the same thing!'”
The song serves as a political statement, aiming to destigmatize the queer identity. While songs such as Katy Perry‘s “I Kissed a Girl” and Demi Lovato‘s “Cool For the Summer,” both have queer narratives, Jauregui points out that there’s a lack of media that portray a deeper level of commitment in these relationships. “You can watch a kid get bombed and not do anything about it, but you can’t watch me kiss my girlfriend? Go fuck yourself,” she said.
The singer began amping up her political action after the past election, writing a fiery post-Election letter on Billboard directed towards Trump supporters. Now, she’s known for blasting political messages on her social media accounts, blending activism with her creativity. “There’s this notion that artists are supposed to be dumb and frivolous,” she said. “I completely disagree with that. Madonna, Bob Marley, John Lennon — they didn’t talk about bullshit.”