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Fifth Harmony Reveal How Their Solo Projects Help Keep The Group Together

December was a rough month for 5H

When Camila Cabello abruptly quit Fifth Harmony last December, fans were aghast. What went wrong? The split unfolded dramatically on social media, with Cabello and the remaining members telling two sides of the same story.

Things have brightened up significantly for the group since then, and their 2017 has been filled with solo pursuits — like Lauren Jauregi and Halsey collaborating on "Strangers" and Ally Brooke Hernandez releasing "Look At Us Now" with Lost Kings and A$AP Ferg.

That's good, because in the group's latest Billboard cover story, they go back and relive some of their darker days, including when reports of leaked audio of Jauregi referring to the band as "literal slaves" hit the web. "I don't know where that [audio] came from," Jauregui said in the new interview, "but that's what the game does to you sometimes: runs you dry."

"We were little girls coming off of a TV show and had a team of people trying to sculpt us into something we weren't," Dinah Jane Hansen explained. The girls got their their start on The X Factor in 2012, when they signed with Syco Records and Epic Records while still all in their teens. "They took advantage, like, 'Get in there and record this, you thing,'" Jauregui added.

Last year taught them to take their space and "step away" from the group, Jauregui said, which ultimately made them stronger. "Fifth Harmony is the home base," Normani Kordei added, "where we always come back."

Fifth Harmony now officially own their own name, which they are never, ever changing despite Cabello's departure. According to them, they still have five members: Lauren, Ally Brooke, Normani, Dinah Jane, and you — the fans!