Demi Lovato is embracing her role model status.

The brave X Factor judge, who has been open and candid about her experiences dealing with body issues, an eating disorder and more, said she’s learned that being looked up to by other young women is a gift and not a curse.

“I don’t feel pressure to be a role model just because I’m so open with everyone that there’s no pressure to hide anything,” Demi told us at the X Factor Top 12 Finalists party at the SLS Hotel Monday night.

“I feel like I hit a certain a point in my life where I realized being in front of young women is inevitable for me, and there was a lot of maturing that I had to do, rather than looking at it like it as a burden,” she continued. “I used to always be like ‘I’m a singer not a role model,’ that whole mentality.”

“I grew up. I realize that it’s something that whether I want to be or not, I’m a role model,” Demi went on. “I look at it as not so much as a responsibility, but I look at it more as a gift. I’d rather be the best person I can be for other people than them not seeing my great side.”

Demi said she doesn’t get too much time to talk to her mentees Rion Paige, Ellona Santiago, and Khaya Cohen about “outside things,” adding “the little time we get together it’s about music.”

“But, I find myself talking to Khaya like ‘who are the boys you think are cute?’” she said with a laugh.

Speaking of Khaya, she told us exclusively, “Demi has really helped me become more comfortable with myself and to just be able to go on stage and feel good about my performance.”

Demi’s other mentees, Rion Paige and Ellona Santiago also gushed over their mentor, talking to us exclusively about their experiences with her.

“The best thing Demi has taught me is really to just dig deep inside myself and don’t be afraid to channel every struggle or every cry or every piece of joy you’ve had through your song,” Rion said.

“I’m so honored to be working with [Demi]. It is so special. She’s like an older sister,” Ellona said. “I have three older sisters, so it’s so great to have an older sister like Demi. She knows the music industry and I’m just so glad that I’m working with her.”

“She gave me some personal advice,” Ellona continued. “I’ve worked with her twice and she just told me however tired, exhausted you may be you’ve just got to keep going, you’ve got to keep moving and in the long run it will benefit you more and you’ll be like I’m so glad that I did that because now it’s paying off.”

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