Camila Cabello Wants to Be 'Brave' After Fifth Harmony Departure: It 'Wasn't the Maximum Expression of Me Individually'

The "Bad Things" singer graces the March/April cover of Seventeen

Photo: James White

Just call her “Miss Movin’ On.”

Camila Cabello appears on the March/April cover of Seventeen, and PEOPLE has an exclusive look at her sit-down with the teen glossy, the first interview she’s done since exiting Fifth Harmony in December.

Below, her biggest revelations, from why she left the popular girl group and why she goes to pal Taylor Swift for boy advice to who her songwriting crush is.

She left Fifth Harmony because…

“Fifth Harmony wasn’t the maximum expression of me individually,” she says in Seventeen. My fans are really going to know me from the music I’m writing. My goal is to be brave and open up my soul.”

In December, the four remaining members of the group — Ally Brooke, Dinah Jane, Lauren Jauregui and Normani Kordei — announced on social media that Cabello, 19, had quit the group.

“We were truly hurt. We’ve been together for almost five years, been through ups and downs,” the remaining members later wrote online. “While this isn’t the way any one of us would have wanted this chapter in our lives to have ended, we had to begin to formulate a plan and constructive path for Fifth Harmony to move forward, beyond Camila.”

Cabello responded to her former bandmates’ announcement, posting on social media: “The girls were aware of my feelings through the long, much needed conversations about the future that we had during our tour … I did not intend to end things with Fifth Harmony this way. As sad as it is to see this chapter ending this way, I will continue to root them all on as individuals and as a group, I wish nothing but the best for them, all the success in the world and true happiness.”

James White

Taylor Swift gives her “boy advice.”

“Taylor is always the person that I go to for boy advice,” Cabello says of her pal Swift, 27.

“The reason we became friends was purely because we think the same way about a lot of things: We’re both really sensitive and emotional when it comes to love. We love love, and we love writing songs about love,” she added.

Since rising to fame on the X-Factor in 2012, Cabello has learned a lot about herself through industry experiences and the friendships she’s made, including her bond with Swift.

“I didn’t really get to do the teenager thing. I was shy back in high school: I would go to school, come home, and watch YouTube videos,” she says. “Being in music has pushed me to overcome that. I have gone through a lot of self-discovery in the past few years, figuring out who I am and being comfortable with just being me. I’ve attracted a lot of great people into my life that way, just by being myself. Now I want to go out there, meet people, learn about them, and make friends.”

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She’s never been in a serious relationship.

“Even though I’m 19, I’ve literally never had a long-term relationship,” Cabello — who was once rumored to have dated friend Shawn Mendes — told Seventeen. “So when I show people my songs, they’re like, ‘Who’s this about? I’ve never seen you with a boy ever.’ I make all of these fantasies in my head. There’s this constant theme of unrequited love and me loving people from afar.”

James White

When she left Fifth Harmony, she “burst into an ugly cry” because of the outpouring of support she received from fans.

“I’ve been trying to stay away from social media for almost two years now. There has always been negative stuff on there. Even if you read 100 messages of love, the hurtful one is what you remember,” says the singer, who presented at the Grammys on Sunday. “But I did see a lot of love and support from my fans. Honestly, I didn’t expect it. I was so emotional at that point, that when I saw some really encouraging things people were saying, I burst into an ugly cry.”

Ed Sheeran is her songwriting crush.

“He’s incredible at putting love, emotion, and feeling into words,” she says of the “Shape of You” singer. “I would love to see him go into a room and watch how he makes his magic. He always talks about how he loves making songs from the heart, and that’s something that I’ve pushed myself to do in my songwriting process, too.”

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