She gained fame with the all-girl group Little Mix, whose 2012 debut album, DNA, broke the Spice Girls' chart record.
She worked as a bartender before being selected to compete on The X Factor, where she auditioned with the Jazmine Sullivan song "Bust Your Windows."
Her group became the first all-girl group to win a season of The X Factor.
She was raised by John Nelson and Janice White. She has a sister named Jade and two brothers named Joseph and Jonathan. She dated Eddie Brett from the band Lovable Rogues in 2013. She was engaged to Rixton singer Jake Roche for about a year before they broke up in 2016. In 2017, she began dating musician Harry James.
She, Jade Thirlwall, Perrie Edwards, and Leigh-Anne Pinnock won the Glamour Band Award in 2014.