Octavia Donata Columbro is living her truth, nearly three years after competing on ITV’s The X Factor as one half of the pop duo Bratavio: Columbro announced in a new interview with The Sun that she is transitioning to female.

The singer’s transition follows years of inner torment. “I lost my drive for life,” she tells the newspaper. “I shut myself away from the world and would spend days in my bedroom with the curtains drawn not wanting to see anyone and many times I came close to ending my life. I would look at the knives in the kitchen and knowing that everyone was out of the house I saw opportunities which were dark. People thought me being on The X Factor was glamorous, but little did they know what I was really feeling.”

Columbro explains that she knew “something was different” when she mimicked Bond girls’ sultry dances and envied the women on the reality show The Only Way Is Essex. “When my mum had my sister, I became envious of her cause she had biologically what I wanted,” she added.

After visiting a gender clinic in London, the reality alum decided to pay for her transition out of pocket. “I could’ve gone through the [National Health Service], but there was a 24- to 36-month waiting list,” she said. “This shows just how serious I am. I’ve worked really hard and saved up to fund this. I’m using my own money.”

“Hopefully, I can spread awareness of transgender and gender identity issues and urge anyone who has feelings of being gender indifferent to go to their [general practitioner] and ask to be referred to the gender identity clinic for assessment/diagnosis,” Columbro added. “Don’t suffer in silence. Be your own kind of beautiful.”


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