The singer/songwriter, who appeared on the 2011 series when she was 19 years old, was at the centre of a controversy that saw her accused of bullying other contestants. Walsh alleged that contestants in his category had come to him with complaints about her behaviour, while suggesting that she had become “overconfident” as a performer. Tulisa additionally claimed that Misha occasionally came across as “feisty” and “mean”. As a result of the incident, Misha was dubbed “Misha Bully” in the tabloid press, with the story following her throughout her time on the series.
After hearing the rumours, Misha asked for a sit down with Little Mix. “One of the girls, I think it might have been Jesy [Nelson], said, ‘You’ve been saying Leigh-Anne [Pinnock] has ‘evil eyes’ and you don’t think we’re gonna win and that you think we’re s*** singers’,” she recalled. “And I was like, wow, first of all, let’s get this clear, I have no energy to be focusing on anybody else when I have so much at stake here. It is not in my character to want to tear another sista down.”
Shortly after the interaction, Misha said that she sensed “coldness” from everyone on the set. She found emotional support, however, from judge Kelly Rowland, who offered to pray with her. Following her performance that week, Misha said she immediately picked up on “bad vibes” from Walsh and Tulisa.
“Let me just get this very clear,” Misha said. “These judges spent a maximum of one percent time with me and their contestants, apart from Gary [Barlow] and Kelly… So my understanding is you’ve created this whole narrative of me being overconfident because I’m black. And in your eyes, black girls should not be confident. Black girls are just ‘one of’ – ‘You look like a young Tina Turner, you’re like a young Chaka Khan’. Why can I not just look like me? Why is it always you looking like someone else? Why is it always a comparison for black women?”
Misha continued: “Moving on to Tulisa – if you go back and watch the clip carefully, and I’ve gone back and watched the clip carefully, this woman had every line scripted before she even opened up her mouth. I wasn’t fooled. I’m not fooled. I know what it is here. I know exactly what it is here. And, you see, back in 2011 they got away with it. They got away with so much s***.
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“’Feisty’, [Tulisa] threw, followed by ‘mean’. Now I know that I am not the only one here that has heard those words. ‘Feisty’, ‘mean’. These are like the common words that people use to describe black women. She then went on to say something along the lines of ‘seeing that some of the things that I say could come across as mean’. Let me get one thing clear, this woman had spent zero time with me. The only conversation this woman had with me was after this all happened, when she gave me a very half-arsed apology. Not the words ‘I’m sorry’, but ‘I never meant to do you no harm’. The damage is done, bruv. The damage is done.”
Misha continued that, after the live show was over, she felt like her “whole world stopped”. Despite being supported by the friends she had made on the show’s crew, specifically stylists and wardrobe assistants, she “needed time to grieve”.
“I remember thinking of ways to end my own life,” she explained. “You don’t even know. I remember thinking of ways I could just end the pain. We arrived back at the mansion and all I could think about was running away, just getting out of there. Because to me … people stood by and didn’t say anything, or a damn thing, when they knew it was wrong and they knew it was lies.”
Misha went on to reveal that she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the series. “What I didn’t understand was that that experience, that trauma, had changed me as a person,” she said. “It changed me. I didn’t trust anyone. Everyone asks me, ‘Misha, where have you been? What’s been going on?’ I’ve been battling. I’ve been healing. I’ve been working on self. I started therapy in 2012. I’m still having therapy now. Shout out to all my therapists, you’re the greatest, honestly. If it wasn’t for your patience, kindness, understanding and your services... life would be very different right now. You’d be looking at a different Misha B right now.”
Misha B’s claims follow those made by Barlow, who wrote in his 2018 autobiography that the show’s producers regularly manufactured fake drama during his time on the series. “About half an hour before the show goes live, the producers would come in and they’d go, ‘Oh my God. That Misha. She’s a bully. Can’t believe it. She is such a bully. In fact, you know what? You should say it. You should say it on air. She’s bullied everyone all week’,” Barlow wrote.
Since The X Factor, Misha B has been nominated for a MOBO award and released two EPs and a number of singles, including 2019’s “Letter to My siStars”.
The Independent has reached out to representatives for Tulisa and Walsh for comment.
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