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ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16: Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony performs during a special set with MGK during Power 96.1's Jingle Ball 2016 at Philips Arena on December 16, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
C Flanigan—WireImage/Getty Images

Camila Cabello‘s sudden departure from girl group Fifth Harmony last month left fans stunned, but now the singer is speaking out about the dark side of pop stardom.

Cabello opened up to Lena Dunham for Tuesday’s Lenny Letter, as well as a bonus episode attached to the “Noise” edition of Dunham’s podcast. In the interview, she revealed that she felt “inappropriately sexualized” since joining the band at age 15.

“Especially with being a girl group, there’s been a lot of times where people have tried to sexualize us to just get more attention. Unfortunately, sex sells,” the 19-year-old Cuban-born musician shared. “There’s definitely been times where there’s stuff that I have not been comfortable with and I’ve had to put my foot down.”

Although Cabello explained that there’s nothing wrong with being sexy, she felt that it was difficult to be in the public eye during her teenage years when she was still figuring herself out.

“I definitely think being a young girl, there’s a time where — like when you’re in middle school or when you first start liking boys — you don’t really feel comfortable,” Cabello said. “You remember that time when you first got your period, or when your boobs started coming in, that you were like, This is weird. You have to grow into yourself. I feel like it’s been tricky because we’ve had to grow into ourselves while being in front of the world and while making songs that did have a lot of sexual undertones.”

She continued, “I think the thing that I would say to young women is, if you’re not ready for it, put your foot down.”

Fifth Harmony’s first performance as a quartet will be at the 2017 People’s Choice Awards on Jan. 18.

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