Ally Brooke isn’t holding back!
The 27-year-old is releasing her memoir Finding Your Harmony AND a new single called What Are We Waiting For? this week, and so she’s making headlines all over.
Of course, we’ve reported on her decision to remain a virgin until marriage. But the memoir goes far deeper than that, including jaw-dropping dirt about the “great sadness” she felt during her time as part of Fifth Harmony.
The San Antonio-born star writes quite a bit in the memoir about being an outsider in the girl group, which was fronted by Camila Cabello with major contributions from Normani and Lauren Jauregui, along with Dinah Jane. In fact, that theme — of not having any control over her career, or her ability to be herself — created the aforementioned period of “great sadness” that the singer now feels when she looks back on her time in that spotlight.
Though she rarely mentions the girls themselves by name in the book — and never directly mentions Camila, at least according to People — the pop princess isn’t afraid to candidly discuss the dark side of the industry. (And yes, she does talk about her virginity, too!)
“The Great Sadness”
Things are never quite as good as they seem in the entertainment industry, as we’ve learned from many a star’s memoirs. Brooke is no different here, openly complaining in the book about how she was overshadowed by her other group members and given the fewest lyrics to sing and opportunities to perform.
Statistically speaking, she was correct about that — according to Genius, Brooke had just 20.5% of the group’s singing lines on their sophomore album 7/27, which was by far the lowest percentage of the five girls.
And emotionally, it drained her.
The singer recalled being overlooked like that, and how it quickly took her to a dark place behind the scenes involving alcohol:
“I wasn’t allowed to use my voice, figuratively and literally. I didn’t feel like I was allowed to be myself, I wasn’t allowed to speak my mind. I felt alone, and [I reached] dark place because there were things going on behind the scenes that were unfair. My whole world just came crashing down. The pressure to be perfect, the pressure to pretend that things were okay when they weren’t, it got to me. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anybody, and when you mix all of that, it’s the perfect concoction for disaster and for self-destruction.”
She doesn’t go into specifics about her exact experiences with alcohol, but the Texan does note that on one particular night, the group’s tour manager Will Bracey had to “force his way”into her room to confront her about the problems.
The Latina performer recalled:
“I think if I had one more drink I would have definitely ended up in the hospital. [I kept asking], ‘Why is this happening to me?’ [Will] reminded me that God is greater than all of my problems. And even though my problems were very real, that God was going to create a way back to the light. And God did do that.”
Wow! We had no idea the problem was this severe! To be honest, we wish there were more specifics on this — this is the kind of VH1 Behind The Music stuff we’re here for.
Accepting Her Body
The oldest member of the popular girl group, Brooke dealt with a slew of body-shaming comments from internet trolls, music critics, stylists, and even studio execs.
Feeling more and more tightly controlled with every day in the group, the pop star recalled how she’d find little opportunities to get whatever release she could from having to be perfect:
“I went to the back of the bus, stared out the window and ate a whole [big] bag of Doritos. Everything in my life was controlled from the outside. I craved whatever release I could find, and food offered a temporary escape from my inner turmoil. I was just trying to survive every day, to be honest.”
The songstress recalls having gained more than 20 pounds due to her disordered eating habits — and it severely affected her mental stability and outlook during the group’s music video shoot for All In My Head (Flex).
From the memoir:
“I’m only five feet tall, and so on my small frame, it was noticeable [in the bikini for the video]. I was incredibly self-conscious, I didn’t want to do it. I was shaking because I was so nervous being in a bathing suit.”
Fans commented that she had “a refrigerator body,” and it destroyed her:
“And bam, I open social media [to see that]. It just destroyed any last bit of confidence that I had in myself. I hope and pray that there will never be another ‘Flex’ moment for another girl, where they feel insecure, where they feel ugly, where they feel that their body is not attractive or not pretty.”
Now, though, the south Texas native is in a better place, both mentally and physically.
She shared her health improvements in the memoir, too, and noted:
“I know I’m beautiful, and I was beautiful without society telling me that. I love myself in versions. Sometimes I’ll be a little thinner, sometimes I’ll have a little bit more love on me. My weight fluctuates. I can see myself in the mirror and say, ‘I love what I see. I’m proud of who I am. I’m confident.’”
One Proud Latina!
Immediately after Fifth Harmony announced their hiatus back in 2017, Brooke went straight for her Latina rots in solo music! Since then, she’s dropped two songs in Spanglish — 500 Veces and Vámonos — and she’s looking forward to diving deeper into that sub-genre of the industry while honoring her heritage!
“Growing up and branching out became challenging for me People would say, ‘What, you don’t speak Spanish?’ That was very hard for me. I had these identity issues like, ‘Oh my gosh, am I really Latina enough? Do people look at me differently?’ But it’s so incredible that our community has embraced me as I am.”
That, they have!
Brooke even recalled a crazy connection to her Tex-Mex idol — legendary late pop star Selena Quintanilla. After one performance, Quintanilla’s sister Suzette came up to the young woman and told her she “reminded her” of Selena.
Truly, an incredible compliment knowing where it’s coming from, and how much that name means in Texas!
“The Happiest I’ve Ever Been”
As she promotes her book and accompanying single this week, Brooke is actually in Atlanta, where she’s starring in her first-ever film: High Expectations.
Calling it “a dream come to life” in a recent Instagram post, Brooke seems to have fully picked up all the pieces from a particularly difficult time in the pop music industry. Free from her girl group roots, and ready to express her Latina personality and notable sexuality however she wants, the pop performer is riding high.
She summed it up perfectly at one point late in the memoir, writing:
“I’m so happy that now I can feel free to be who I want to be. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Nothing more to say! We love it!
Fun times! Quite the comeback story!
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN/Instar.]
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