Home UK Showbiz Rita Ora opens up about ‘tough’ childhood experiences as refugee

Rita Ora opens up about ‘tough’ childhood experiences as refugee

The singer's family fled Kosovo when she was just a baby

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Rita Ora has opened up about her “tough” childhood experiences as refugee.

The pop-star was born in Kosovo in 1990, but her family were forced to move to London to “escape persecution” when she was just a baby.

Speaking to Vogue Arabia, Rita said: “Thousands were killed in the brutal decade-long war, and more than one million people were forced to flee, including my parents, with me and my siblings in tow.”

“They left behind their whole lives and had to start from scratch when they arrived in London as refugees.”

“But protecting us was their main priority and I count my blessings every day that they did what they did.”

Growing up, Rita saw how much her parents sacrificed and how hard they worked for their family.

“They studied, learned a new language, and raised my older sister, younger brother, and me well,” she said.

“They taught us to fight for what we want, to work hard, and to keep going; whatever your circumstances.”

Speaking about the challenges she faced growing up as a refugee, Rita explained: “There was a lot of prejudice and judgement.”

“I was often called a refugee in a derogatory way, however, I had lots of foreign friends and we all had a great time connecting through being different.”

Despite growing up in London, Rita said: “I will forever be a true Kosovan at heart. I’ll never forget my roots and I’ll be forever proud of my heritage – I wouldn’t change a thing.”

“While we consider London our home now, I don’t feel English. I feel like I am from London as it’s diverse and I grew up with different nationalities around me in West London.”

The singer now regularly visits Kosovo, and said: “Kosovo will always be our homeland and we will forever be proud Kosovans.”

“I love every little thing about Kosovan culture; it’s so different. The national dress is beautiful and the food is delicious. Baklava is my favorite thing in the world.”