Credit: FOX

X Factor Season 2 finalist CeCe Frey has undergone an incredible transformation in front of live audiences — and a panel of judges who don’t always understand her style. The 21-year-old postal worker from Decatur, IL, walked into her audition with leopard-print face paint and walked into the Top 6 with bleach-blonde hair and new famous friends.

On December 5, 2012, CeCe opened with a toned-down cover of “I’m on the Edge” by Lady Gaga, following up with a boisterous performance of Katy Perry’s “Part of Me,” which was chosen for her by fans. Speaking exclusively with Wetpaint Entertainment after the grueling double-header onstage, CeCe opened up about struggling to find her identity — and what that quest means in the long run.

There have been some struggles with being able to be yourself. What can you do at this point to make sure you are who you want to be?

You definitely have to fight and stand up for yourself. But for me it’s also like, people throw hissy fits over, you know, ‘I’m don’t feel like I’m being myself because someone made a different suggestion on what they should wear.’ Ok, that doesn’t define you. That doesn’t define whether or not you’re being yourself. If you’re being yourself, it’s the attitude. People are like, ‘She’s not herself anymore because she’s blonde,’ or ‘That dress isn’t something she would wear.’ Like, how do you know what I would wear? How do you know that I didn’t want to be blonde in the first place? Yes, style has to do with being yourself, but your attitude, your personality, how you treat other people, that is what makes you, you. And I think that people forget that a lot when they complain that this competition isn’t allowing them to be themselves.