‘The X Factor’ Helped Camila Cabello Become One of the Biggest Stars in the World

Samantha Agate
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Camila CabelloNDZ/Star Max/GC Images

Camila Cabello is one of the biggest stars in the music industry today. Her success stemmed from the chance of a lifetime to audition for The X Factor in 2012. At first, she didn’t even know if she would make it out onto the stage. It was Simon Cowell that made her dreams come true after finding her crying backstage.


Cabello was born in Havana, Cuba. Her family lived back and forth between Havana and Mexico City. With only a couple hundred dollars in their pockets and the clothes on their backs, Cabello and her mother immigrated to the United States when she was six years old. 

They went to Miami and stayed with a family friend for two months until her mom got a job at Marshalls. Her dad was finally able to join them in America a year and a half later. Eventually, Cabello’s parents launched a construction company. She described herself as “very introverted” as a kid. Cabello started bringing her CDs to the YMCA after school and played them on a boom box. She created a YouTube channel doing covers. This all led up to her life-changing moment on The X Factor stage.


Camila Cabello Rose to Fame with Fifth Harmony on ‘The X Factor’

Cabello was a huge fan of One Direction and followed their journey on The X Factor. She asked her mom if she could go audition for the U.S. version of the show. They traveled to The X Factor Season 2 auditions in North Carolina. Things took a bit of a turn when she was told by producers that she was a “reserve.” The show was running short on time which meant there was a possibility Cabello would not have been able to audition at all.


A chance encounter with Cowell backstage changed her life forever. He went to have a cigarette and passed Cabello who was lying on the floor crying. Cowell was determined to get her up on the stage to sing. He rushed back to the judging table so they could squeeze in Cabello’s audition. She was put into a group with Ally Brooke, Normani, Dinah Jane, and Lauren Jauregui that was later named Fifth Harmony. Cowell knew from the group’s performance of “Anything Could Happen” on The X Factor that Cabello was going to be a star.

Fifth Harmony was mentored by Cowell throughout the competition and finished in third place. He was a huge fan of the group and saw major potential. He signed them to Syco Records in a joint deal with L.A. Reid’s Epic Records. With Fifth Harmony, Cabello toured the world and dominated the charts with their albums Reflection and 7/27. Fifth Harmony was invited on tour with Cher Lloyd and The X Factor judge Demi Lovato. They put out Billboard Hot 100 hits “Miss Movin’ On” and “Work From Home.”

Cabello Left the Group in 2016

In 2015, Cabello collaborated with Shawn Medes on “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which sparked romance rumors between them. She also collaborated on “Bad Things” with Machine Gun Kelly. Many wondered if this was just the beginning of her plans to go solo after Fifth Harmony.


Fifth Harmony’s song “Work From Home” won a VMA in 2016. They also embarked on their international 7/27 Tour. Cabello officially announced her departure from the group at the end of 2016. What followed was one of the most successful launches of a solo career ever. She collaborated with Pitbull and J Balvin with the song “Hey Ma” in 2017. After opening up for Bruno Mars on tour in 2017, Cabello topped the charts with her song “Havana.” It was off of her debut album Camila and became the best-selling single of 2018.

She embarked on her Never Be The Same Tour in 2018. That same year, she joined Taylor Swift, her childhood idol, on the stage at her Reputation Stadium Tour. Cabello was on fire, despite all of the rumors about friction she had with Fifth Harmony after The X Factor.

She Started Dating Shawn Mendes

Cabello released her second album, Romance, in 2019. The album included the US Hot 100 No. 1 single “Señorita” another song of hers with Mendes. The song dominated the charts and led to some steamy on-stage performances. She even got love out of the deal and the two are now happily in a relationship

At the beginning of their relationship, some accused them of faking their romance for publicity. After their steamy performances, it’s clear as day that the love between them is very real. The pair quarantined together when the pandemic hit in 2020. They were spotted taking their famous “zombie walks” outside. The pair just attended the Met Gala together. Mendes’ reaction to Cabello’s outfit led to one of the most viral videos of the year.

Their relationship hasn’t all been peachy. Both Mendes and Cabello have been called out for racially insensitive social media posts. In 2019, Cabello’s old tweets from 2012 resurfaced where she used racial slurs and made derogatory comments. She put out an apology saying she was “deeply sorry and ashamed.” The X Factor star announced she was attending weekly racial healing sessions as a result.

Preaching Body Positivity and Starring in a Movie

This year, Cabello announced her third studio album Familia. She released the song “Don’t Go Yet” which she performed that the 2021 VMA’s. Cabello also posted a viral body positivity TikTok in July. She shared that she was running in the park when she became overly conscious about her outfit and how her body looked.

Cabello is one of the many stars who have outwardly spoken about body image and how you should own your body and not be made to feel self-conscious. Her TikTok received over 27 million likes. Cabello also made her feature film debut in the Amazon Prime adaptation of Cinderella.

Even though scenes from Cinderella received harsh criticism on TikTok, it’s still a huge deal that she landed the starring role. After two studio albums and three Grammy nominations, The X Factor has made Cabello into a star. She has accomplished more than most at just 24 years old. 

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