'I wanted to change everything about the way I looked...' The 17-year-old X Factor hopeful reveals painful struggle with self-image

With an ever-growing number of celebrity supporters and bookies pitting her as the favourite to win, X Factor semi-finalist Louisa Johnson seems to have the entire world at her feet. But despite the smiles and consistently stunning vocal performances, the 17-year-old has revealed a sad past struggle with her body image.

In a new interview she confesses that in 2014, the stress of her college course resulted in a drastic weight loss, where she plummeted to seven stone (44kg). In conversation with OK! magazine, Louisa explains: ‘I just wasn’t happy and I thought I was eating enough, but I knew I wasn’t. I wasn’t trying to starve myself; I think it was probably to do with stress.

‘I was at a real low because I was at college doing a business course, when it was actually music I wanted to do,’ the Essex native continues.

Louisa Johnson reveals a sad past struggle with her body image

Louisa Johnson reveals a sad past struggle with her body image

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At the time, she was also unhappy with her looks: ‘I wanted to change everything about the way I looked last year.’ Comparing her chest to those of other girls, Louisa had been upset that her boobs weren’t ‘the biggest’.

Thankfully, moving to a performing arts college seems to have put the Essex native in a much better emotional place than before: on her boobs, she says: ‘ I’d still like them a bit bigger but I’ve got to the stage wher I’m happier with them, I look in the mirror and I don’t care. I’m happy being me.’

We’re glad to hear it!

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Elsewhere in the interview, she opens up about her recent split from her boyfriend of a year-and-a-half, Ellis: ‘We’re not really in touch but there are no hard feelings; it’s just one of those things.’

On Saturday’s live show, Louisa gave a beautiful rendition of Labrinth’s Jealous, which includes emotional lyrics such as ‘It’s hard for me to say / I’m jealous of the way / You’re happy without me’. Though some may assume that Louisa channeled her own heartbreak into the song, she denies letting her love life be a part of the competition:

‘Every time I sing I just think about how much I want to win. That’s the only emotion I put [into my performances] because that’s why I’m there.’

With the final less than a fortnight away, many are placing their bets on Louisa to walk away victorious – even One Direction‘s Louis Tomlinson has declared himself a fan! But she clearly hasn’t let it get to her head: ‘It’s amazing, but I just don’t think about it. It’s not that I don’t care, I just don’t want to focus on that because then I’m distracting myself…Thinking I’m the favourite isn’t going to get me anywhere.’

She’s definitely got a strong head on her shoulders – adding that to her bags of talent, we know she’s going to go far…

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Nicole Vassell / @nicolevassell