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November 16, 2018 03:05 PM
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Seven years and now five albums in, Little Mix is stronger than ever before.

Leigh-Anne Pinnock, one of the members of the British girl group, candidly opened up to PEOPLE about Little Mix’s sisterhood and empowerment ahead of the release of their album LM5, which dropped Friday.

“Little Mix wouldn’t work without one of us. If one of us left, it would be over,” she says.

“We’re friends. If anything, we’re past friendship. We’re sisters,” Pinnock, 27, adds about her bandmates Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall and Jesy Nelson.

The group’s sisterhood — which began when they were formed by Simon Cowell on The X-Factor — is evident. The four women spend time together outside of touring and support each other, especially after heartbreak.

Nelson, 27, recently made headlines after splitting from boyfriend Harry James, whom she dated for nearly a year and a half. Pinnock makes it clear that her groupmate is doing just fine.

“She’s got her girls,” Pinnock says.

Dave Benett/Getty

With lyrics like “He’s never going to love you like we do” in “Told You So,” the “Woman Like Me” singers make it clear that they will always have each other’s backs through everything.

The 18-track album is filled with catchy beats in songs like “Think About Us,” sampling Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” and Latin beat-filled “Motivate.” Themes of female empowerment and body positivity run deep throughout the album, especially in songs like “Joan of Arc,” “Strip” and “Woman’s World”: All odes to the power of women.

“We said everything we wanted to say in this album,” Pinnock says. “We want people to listen to this album and just feel good about themselves. So fierce and powerful.”

Pinnock explains that the album encapsulates who Little Mix is and what it stands for, as all four members got to write on LM5.

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“It shows how personal it really is and how much it actually means to us,” she says. “When we go up on stage and sing these songs, knowing it comes from us, is an incredible thing.”

Leading up to the album’s release, the group shared multiple photos and videos celebrating female and LGBT activists as the girls want to use their platform to “speak about things that actually mean something.”

“It’s time now for people to just speak on real-life issues more,” she says.

The girls have also been candid about their own insecurities. The group shared a liberating nude photo with insults people have used to criticize them painted across their bodies.

“Jiggle all this weight, yeah you know I love all of this / Finally love me naked / Sexiest when I’m confident,” the group captioned the image with lyrics of “Strip.”

“This is for anyone that has ever not liked what they saw in the mirror, never felt good enough and never fully embraced their insecurities!” Nelson, 27, captioned a clip alongside multiple women celebrating their bodies. “Ps. It’s also for anyone that ever called me ‘The fat one.’”

While all of Little Mix’s music has contained traces of love and empowerment, Pinnock admits that calling themselves feminists is something new for the group.

“I think if you would’ve asked us a couple years ago, ‘Are you feminists?’ we probably would’ve been a little scared of the word. It was weird,” Pinnock explains. “But now, we can easily say that we are. And it’s not bashing men, it’s just believing in equal rights. Now more than ever we want to use this platform to emit a positive message.”

Now with the release of LM5, the girls are ready to tour the world. While the “Power” songstresses have yet to hit the stage in the United States on their own (the group has opened for Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande), Pinnock says traveling throughout America is on their bucket list.

“We want to tour America so bad!” she says. “That is the dream, so we really, really hope we can make it happen — if you guys will come!”

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