Fifth Harmony's Jauregui: Social media 'toxic' for me

Like her fellow members of all-girl American pop group Fifth Harmony, Lauren Jauregui is always dolled-up whenever she is singing or doing press and publicity.

But in her downtime, fans would probably walk past the 18-year-old without a second look.

"When I go out, I tend to look a bit homeless," she says with a laugh in a telephone interview from Sydney, where the group were on tour to promote the release of their debut album Reflection.

"I don't ever wear make-up and I dress really casually. I don't really draw much attention to myself. I feel like the people who get stopped are the ones who are like fully glammed up and wearing really cute outfits."

Unlike most of her peers, she is also trying to keep off social media as much as possible, although she stills runs her own Twitter and Instagram accounts.

She says: "I don't really go on social media very much anymore because it got a bit toxic for me. I feel like when I'm on it all the time, I get sucked into this world that's just not real. It's just not a real world, it's sort of a fanaticism that I do not really understand."

Still, she is quick to add that she appreciates the adulation and tweets from her fans, although she would much rather meet them in person rather than online.

"I like getting to hug them and seeing their faces and eyes, and having a conversation with them. To me, that's more special than answering them on Twitter or following them."

Keeping a low profile during her private time is her way of dealing with the fame and attention that Fifth Harmony have been getting since they became popular through the 2012 season of television reality show The X Factor.

Like the rest of the group - Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Camila Cabello and Dinah Jane - Jauregui was initially a solo contestant on the show.

Judge Simon Cowell decided to put them together as a group after they failed to make the cut as individuals. It was a canny move, as they eventually went on to clinch third place in the competition.

Reflection, which comprises 11 songs, has been doing well on the charts since its release in February, debuting at No. 1 on both the United States iTunes charts as well as the Billboard Digital Albums chart. It peaked at No. 5 on the regular Billboard album charts.

It also attracted critical praise from The New York Times, which hailed it as an "excellent album" that "reads as homage to the last two or so years of pop and R&B", as well as music website Pitchfork, which called it "an album of fun, feminist pop that is simultaneously wise beyond its years".

Jauregui, a Miami native of Cuban descent, is ecstatic that the full-length album is finally released, as the group had worked hard on it in the last two years.

"We spent so much time going through all of the stuff that we recorded. We recorded so much music, went through like 50-plus songs and weeded out the ones that weren't worth it."

She also feels that the songs on the album are a big step forward compared to their first EP, Better Together, released in 2013.

"I feel like I connect more with our songs now. The music on the album is a lot more mature, with a whole different vibe, from the lyric content to the musicality. There was so much growth from the EP to the album."

Reflection is out in stores and iTunes.

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