Jade Thirlwall "suppressed" who she was because she wasn't "proud" of her heritage.
The Little Mix singer - whose mother has Yemeni and Egyptian parents - feels "sad" that she never used to speak about her background because she was "ashamed" of her identity.
She told Vogue Arabia magazine: "I had suppressed who I was because I wasn't proud.
"I had been bullied into thinking I should be ashamed of my identity, so I didn't talk enough about my heritage in interviews. It makes me sad to think about it now."
The 27-year-old star believes her reluctance to open up on the subject stemmed from a lack of representation when she was younger.
She explained: "When I was younger, I didn't see enough representation of Arabs in magazines or on TV, and when I saw people who looked like my granddad they were always misrepresented.
"I regret now that I didn't talk about it more, but I was young and scared. I'm trying to make up for it now."
The 'Shout Out To My Ex' hitmaker admitted her mother Norma had struggled with her own identity and the recent Black Lives Matter protests and the war in Yemen had triggered "a lot of trauma" for her.
But the pair have grown closer while looking into their heritage together.
She said: "My mam and me have started looking into our culture more and it's something that is bringing us closer together.
"The BLM movement and the war in Yemen has triggered a lot of trauma for my mam, who I think suppressed who she was for a long time, too. The past few months have been very eye-opening for us."
And Jade has enjoyed being able to "connect" with her heritage more.
She added: "As an adult I'm connecting more with my Arab side - it's a shame that it's taken me until now to understand that. Being Arab is a beautiful thing.
"When I was young, my grandad used to play Arabic songs for me, and I think it did influence me... people say they can tell I have Arab heritage because when I do riffs I must subconsciously perform them in an Arabic style, which is lovely."