Digital scans of Jameela in this month’s Harper’s Bazaar India have been added to the gallery.
Jameela Jamil knows she’s been lucky.
“My first audition was for ‘The Good Place,’ and [creator] Mike Schur gave me the job because he’s a very strange man who gave a complete novice who’d never acted before a job,” she jokes.
But it was a stroke of bad luck that made her the type of person who could land a major comedy role with no acting experience. When she was 17, Jamil was hit by a car, and a resulting back injury left her unable to walk for more than a year.
“My brother had to take me to the toilet every day,” she tells CNBC Make It. “There’s something about that that sort of gifts you perspective, and you realize that you shouldn’t be taking yourself too seriously and you shouldn’t be taking life for granted.”
She recovered, and says the experience permanently changed her perspective and made her someone who’s open to any new opportunity and willing to tackle any challenge.
“I’ve never been afraid of embarrassing myself or getting something wrong or failing, and therefore, whenever an opportunity comes my way that I think could be a fun thing to do — even if it means I will be nationally shamed and humiliated — I go for it.”
Jamil was 21 and working as an English teacher when she was approached one night by a man at a London pub about auditioning to become a TV host.
“I’d never wanted to be on television. I had never done anything. I had no experience, but I just thought, ‘Yes, I will go to that,‘” she says, adding, “Well, at first I said ‘No,’ and then he said it was £1,000 a day and I was like, ‘Yes, please.’”
Jamil auditioned and got the job as a TV presenter on T4, a music and pop culture-focused station on U.K. television.
“Overnight, I became a TV presenter on one of the biggest TV shows in the United Kingdom, which I was wholly unprepared for and didn’t really become good at for like another year, which was mortifying to have to learn that publicly on television,” says Jamil. “But I did it anyway. I sucked it up and I took the criticism and I kept going.”
In 2012, Jamil was recruited by BBC Radio 1 to join as a DJ, and by the following year she was promoted and became the first woman ever to host The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1, a position she held until 2015.
Despite her success on the program — she claims to have brought 200,000 new listeners to the program — U.K. tabloids tended to focus on her appearance.
“I myself was fat-shamed nationally by the U.K. tabloid papers,” she says. That experience prompted Jamil to speak up about issues of body image. In 2014, Jamil spoke to the House of Commons about body positivity and the media’s portrayal of young women and girls. It’s a message she remains passionate about today.
Though things were going well for Jamil professionally, a cancer scare in 2015 prompted her to rethink her career trajectory. “I’d been told I was too old, too fat and too ethnic to try and make it into America at 28,” she says. Still, after learning that she was not sick, she quit her job and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time.
A few months after she arrived, Jamil got an audition for a career-making part— the role of Tahini on “The Good Place.” She had no acting experience, and the show was so secretive that she didn’t even know what the character was.
Then she got lost on her way to the audition.
“There was a beautiful Indian woman walking up the road,” she says, “and the casting was for a ‘wealthy-looking South Asian woman.’ And so I walked up to her and I asked her if she was going to this audition. She said no. And I said, ‘Well, okay can you show me where this is?’ And she said, ‘Oh yeah, no, you’re in the wrong place. It’s way down this road.’”
Jamil followed the woman’s directions for 10 minutes before realizing she was headed the wrong way. She turned back and realized the address she had been looking for was hidden behind a bush. “I walk in, she’s in the audition! She was an actress! She was there! She was walking into my slot!”
But despite those early challenges, Jamil nailed the audition — with the help of a few fabrications. “I also told the casting director that I had acting experience, which was a lie. I told her I’d been onstage, but I was talking about my school days,” she says. When Schur asked if she had improv comedy experience, she fibbed once again. “I was like, ‘I love Improv! Did loads of that on the theater in England!’”
When her agent called to tell her she’d gotten the role, Jamil says she sat down in the middle of the street in disbelief.
“I’ve had a great experience in Hollywood, to be honest,” she says. “Sickeningly so, because I got so lucky with that audition and I got to have an amazing cast to work and I got to learn how to act from Ted Danson — and Mike Schur is the greatest boss of all time.”
Jamil is quick to emphasize the combination of talent and good fortune that have gotten her where she is today. “I think it’s important to acknowledge luck,” she says. “I have been very lucky, but I am also bright and I’m very strong and I’ve survived a lot of things and I am tenacious, and that comes from a lot of bad experiences. I think that my tenacity has definitely been more helpful to my career than talent or the aesthetic.”
Today, she remains vocal in conversations about weight and women’s appearances. In 2018, Jamil founded the “I Weigh, ” movement which encourages young women and girls to talk about what makes them valuable beyond their physical appearance. She says her activism has “evolved from body positivity to life positivity.”
Since launching I Weigh, Jamil has caught headlines for calling out brands like Avon for body-shaming women and celebrities like Cardi B and the Kardashians for promoting weight-loss products like “tummy teas,” laxatives and appetite suppressant lollipops to young women and girls.
Jamil seems to be having an impact. Avon issued an apology about the ad she tweeted about, and Kim Kardashian deleted an ad for appetite suppressant lollipops from her Twitter and Instagram feeds that was rebuked by Jamil and her followers.
While Jamil appreciates these victories, she remains committed to progress — personally and professionally. “For me, trying is the win, and I think that that has helped me through my life. I think if I have the, not big balls, the big ovaries to go and try something, then I think that that is the win, and everything else is just cake.”
Source: CNBC make it
“I’m not just going to play the nagging, annoying girlfriend. I want a role that’s actually challenging and nuanced,” ‘The Good Place’ star says.
“I don’t cancel the Kardashians, or Iggy Azalea or Cardi B,” Jameela Jamil told Charlamagne tha God on the most recent episode of Emerging Hollywood. Jamil famously called out the women on social media for their promotion of weight loss beverages. “I’m not cancelling them, I’m reprimanding them. It’s fine to call someone out. You’re offering them the opportunity of changing,” she says.
“Oppressive beauty standards,” as Jamil calls them, affected her deeply as a child. “I was fully anorexic by the time I was about thirteen. I wasn’t menstruating. My body was letting me know that I was dying from the inside,” Jamil explains.
Jamil argues the entertainment industry has a big hand in circulating these ideas, telling Charlmagne, “I think entertainment is such a beautiful and important thing to do. I’ve been on the receiving end of how much it can save your life when you’re down. But also, the entertainment industry has some rotten parts that we’re trying to slowly lift out. I have to do something to rally against it, otherwise I feel like I’m a traitor to women and to young people.”
The Good Place star is careful not to have her activism or “wokeness” appear at all performative, saying, “I completely understand if people distrust me. I look like the enemy. I’m slim, I fit within society’s conventional attractiveness and I am an actress. Why would anyone trust me?” Jamil went on to conclude, “I’m not going to stop because people doubt me, and most people support me.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Photos of Jameela attending the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards have been added to the gallery.
Jameela is featured in the March issue of Allure. I’ve added photos from the magazine, plus 4 new TCA portraits, to the gallery.
I am so excited to announce the grand opening of Jameela Jamil Fan, a fansite dedicated to the talented British actress & activist. You may recognize Jameela from her current role as Tahani Al-Jamil on NBC’s The Good Place. However, prior to Jameela’s breakout role on American television she was known for her work as a British television presenter, BBC Radio 1 host, DJ, fashion designer, stylist, columnist, music manager, teacher, and she is currently writing a book.
A big thank you to my friend Jay for her generous contributions. Feel free to browse the site and take advantage of our extensive photo archive featuring over 9,400 photos. The site is still growing. I have so much more in store including thousands of additional photos, a video archive, and more. Please, check back and bookmark us. You can also follow us on Twitter or Tumblr for all the latest Jameela news & site updates. Thank you for visiting, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Jameela Jamil is steadfast in her mission to end body shaming and promote body positivity. She’s even received criticism over the years for being attractive and thin and thus somehow being a hypocrite for it. But the The Good Place actress will not stop promoting a positive body message for the new generations. She does not want anyone to harm their physical and mental health by obsessing over their looks. Time and time again, she has criticized other celebrities for endorsing detox diets on social media platforms. Jameela Jamil believes that it sends a dangerous message to the younger generation that can physically harm them. That is why she is urging everyone to sign this petition that bans celebrities from selling detox diets on social media.
Why Jameela Jamil Started this Petition
The Indian-British actress is concerned for the dangerous message the detox diets endorsements are sending. Jameela Jamil believes that celebrities have personal training coaches, nutritionists, chefs and surgeon. It allows them to get that ideal body image we see on the screens. Moreover, the final versions undergo heavy Photoshop edits that completely transform the real image.
Sending out a message that a mere detox diet will enable you to achieve the body image of your favorite celebrity like Cardi B is incredibly dangerous. In fact, Jameela Jamil declares this as ‘false and irresponsible advertising’.
It is part of a pervasive and disturbing rhetoric that preys upon eating disordered behavior and the new trend of “quick fix” that relies upon a naive and vulnerable customer who is not educated as to the full list of health implications these products and diet restrictions can bring.
Hence, this petition started from the socially active Jameela Jamil.
Jameela Jamil’s Past Struggles Inspired Her On this Body Positivity
Previously, The Good Place actress opened about her own self-image problems and insecurities in her teenage. Jameela stated that these Photoshopped and ideal body images portrayed on the big screens lead to her being very insecure about herself. Consequently, Jameela Jamil fell victim to anorexia. And the actress damaged her own physical health. Thus, after suffering a lot she does not want to see the new generation face the same kind of problems she did.
She even started a campaign on social media called i_weigh. On it, ordinary people send photos of themselves along with personality traits they associate with. It’s to promote a healthy and body positive environment on Instagram where people can showcase their true selves. And be proud of it!
You can sign the petition here at change.org.
The ‘Good Place’ actress and body positivity activist joins the #AerieREAL role model family.
If you’re familiar with Jameela Jamil’s, work you may know her for a few things: her role as the narcissistic but always well-intentioned Tahani Al-Jamil on NBC’s The Good Place; her fiercely vocal stance against photoshopping and airbrushing in advertisements and magazine covers; her news-making tweet in which she hoped certain celebrities “shit their pants in public” for hawking “detox teas” that promise to help with weight loss and bloating. In her 32 years on earth, the British actress has battled an eating disorder, hearing loss, and a car accident that broke her back. Yet she’s come out on the other side, starting a beloved life positive moment called “I, Weigh” and as of today, Jamil is one of the newest members of the #AerieREAL Role Model family for spring 2019. Ahead of the reveal, I phoned Jamil to discuss how the body positivity movement can change moving forward, why she wished Aerie existed when she was a teen, and why in 2019 she’s making space, not taking it.
When Aerie revealed you were going to join their campaign, it seemed like a match made in heaven. Why did you want to work with them?
I wanted to work with Aerie because they’re one of the only brands I’ve ever seen actually take inclusion seriously, and it’s not performative. It runs throughout the entire brand: their desire to reflect, on their website and in their stores, what we see outside in everyday life, which just never happens. Seeing people from all walks of life and all ages modeling underwear and modeling clothes was just such a breath of fresh air. When I walked into their store I realized how much I could’ve benefited from having a store like that and a company like that when I was younger, so I was very excited to be a part of it.
Your body’s been through a lot, between an eating disorder and a serious car accident. How has that affected the way you treat your body now?
I treat my body with great respect now and I make sure to check in with it and thank it every so often. Because I’m aware of what it’s like to not be able to go to the toilet by myself, or to be able to breathe because I had asthma, or be able to hear, because I was deaf as a child. I also stopped menstruating when I had an eating disorder, so my body has been in jeopardy so many times that I’ve, frankly, by the age of thirty, a little bit late but better late than never, learned to treat it with lots of kindness and respect. I don’t talk shit to myself anymore. Every time it crops up I stick up for myself the way that I would for a friend or for a stranger even. The things that women say to themselves in their head, they would never tolerate being said to someone that they love. So I’ve decided to be my own best friend.
I’ve become the loudest voice that’s been allowed in body positivity and I think that has given some people the wrong idea.
How does being your best friend manifest itself?
I did EMDR therapy, which is a specific kind of therapy that removes the conditioning of irrational thought. So it goes right to the core of the problem. It’s very good for PTSD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and OCD—all of which I had. Within a matter of months, it just sort of extracted the root of the problem, which meant that I didn’t have to deal with the symptoms anymore. So that was a big thing that I did. I also made the decision three years ago that most of my money that I would spend on corrective or beauty items I’d save up for therapy. I started doing that when I was 29, and that was probably the biggest act of self love I’ve ever done. So no cellulite cream, no stretch mark cream, nothing anti-aging, I just put all of my money into a piggy bank that I would’ve spent on must have products. I just did therapy and then bought myself some self love.
Body image and body positivity can be super personal. How do you discuss these topics without alienating people?
I link body positivity with mental health, which makes it a much bigger and broader conversation. I think that we don’t do that enough I think I’ve kind of moved it more into a life positive movement and more into mental health discussion, and I think we can all relate to that. Body positivity is something that we have to be very conscious of not leaving women who are of minorities out of. We need to include everyone, so I just make sure to be inclusive with my language and make sure that I’m involving activists from different minorities in my work and giving them a platform in order to make sure that everyone knows it’s a conversation for all of us to have.
For example, the MeToo movement got kind of taken over by a lot of very famous, slender, predominantly white, straight women actresses. I think it’s important not to let that happen with body positivity, which it does happen. Often, in the last year I’ve become the loudest voice that’s been allowed in body positivity and I think that has given some people the wrong idea: that I think that I speak for all people, which I don’t. It’s just that I have a platform and a privilege that allows me to be listened to and heard, when other people who are actually struggling with these things are being ignored. I’m not afraid of being annoying, I’m just afraid of being complicit in a problem that is systemically destroying the mental health of most of the women around the world.
So how do you deal with the criticism?
I don’t take it personally anymore, and I think I used to get defensive and when I would be called out for not being intersectional enough or just feel frustrated that people were expecting too much of me, but now I just shut up and I listen and I realize that there are people who are going through a lot and I would like to help those people, so I just focus on the good. I also don’t receive a lot of negativity or backlash. Most people support me and my profile growing in the way that it has, has been a sign of mass support of so many people who were just done, they feel the same way as me. I’m not on the wrong side here, I’m on the right side, the feminist side of mental health of young people and their well being internally and externally, of women and people everywhere.
The hashtag is #AerieReal. When do you feel you’re most real?
I feel I’m most real when I’m cuddling my boyfriend, I do [laughs]. I feel most real when I’m spooning.
There are so many great role models. Who are some of your own role models in this space?
I mean, Samira Wiley is one of them, so I was super starstruck to meet her and to be photographed alongside her. That was a big seal of approval. Janet Mock is someone that I’m very, very obsessed with, and think that what she has done for our culture is just so extraordinary and she’ll be remembered forever and go down in history as such a game changer for the trans community. Roxanne Gay, I think she’s a real hero of mine, and her books have taught me so much and called me out so brilliantly. As in, in reading them I’ve been able to find my own mistakes and learn, via her, how to do better and be better.
I think we bring a lot of ego into activism and wokeness these days.
What did you learn from her books?
I’ve learned from her books about white feminism and how much we could leave people out of the conversation and what makes you a bad feminist and how you can call yourself out, and that that can be okay to make mistakes. You know, she calls herself out on her own blind spots, and I think that’s a really important thing to do. I think we bring a lot of ego into activism these days and ego into wokeness. I think that that can sometimes make you afraid of admitting when you don’t know something, and therefore you don’t ask, and therefore you don’t learn. Even someone as brilliant and accomplished and educated as Roxanne Gay, to sometimes owning up to her weaknesses or her blind spots, has been so inspiring so many people that I know, because it makes you feel like it’s okay to just keep learning and if you’re a bad feminist now, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be a bad feminist.
We’re having a lot of conversations in the office about the kind of energy that we’re bringing into 2019. How would you describe the energy you’re bringing into this year?
It’s make space, don’t take space. That’s the thing that I’m gonna bring into 2019, is making sure that I create space for other women. I create space for people from minorities, and people who are living in experiences that I have not myself had to live through. Recently I turned down a role of a deaf woman, because even though I used to be deaf as a child, I’m no longer completely deaf. And so that role should go to someone who still currently cannot hear because there’s a brilliant deaf actress out there somewhere who we don’t know her name, but she can’t get the role. I do think it’s really important to start to make sure that we stop being greedy and we just step aside for one another, and don’t fear each other. We’ve been taught to fear each other by men, and feel like there’s only space for one, and that’s a lie. That’s so that we don’t all join together and take up loads of space and become equal. So supporting other women, making sure that I put my money where my mouth is, and pass the mic.
Jameela Jamil is about to be your new favourite badass.
Joining the ranks of empowering female celebrities like Serena Williams, Chrissy Teigen, and Lorde, Jamil is the unfiltered, unedited, and unapologetic media presence the world needs right now. She’s the rare celebrity who challenges social expectations for women in the public eye both in real life and online.
Not only does Jamil bless our screens as philanthropist and fashionista Tahani on NBC’s The Good Place, she’s also popular on Instagram for her #IWeigh campaign. The social media movement asks participants to share photos of themselves surrounded by a list of personal attributes they care about more than “the flesh on [their] bones.”
Instead of thinking of weight as a number on a scale, Jamil’s movement asks us to value the positive characteristics they hold, like strength, honesty, accomplishments, friendships, and self-love.
In an interview with Buzzfeed this past October, Jamil explained the #IWeigh campaign stemmed from her own struggles with body image and disordered eating. “[W]eighing is not an indication of health,” she said. “It shouldn’t be part of our narrative.”
Jamil also uses social media to address sponsored celebrity weight-loss products which influential women often peddle on their platforms, especially Instagram. Last November, Jamil made headlines after criticizing Cardi B for accepting a detox tea brand deal and endorsing the product in online videos.
The actor took to Twitter, telling her followers, “[Y]ou need fiber! Not something that honestly just makes you have diarrhea the day you take it.” In additional tweets, she called out female celebrities for having diet plans and personal trainers but attributing their weight loss to these sponsored tea products.
Jamil explained that she used controversial weight-loss products as a teen and suffered from the results. She tweeted, “I was the teenager who […] spent all her money on these miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities […] I have had digestion and metabolism problems for life.”
I was the teenager who starved herself for years, who spent all her money on these miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities on how to maintain a weight that was lower than what my body wanted it to be. I was sick, I have had digestion and metabolism problems for life
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) November 26, 2018
The thing that makes Jamil all the more likeable is she stays true to the advice she shares. Her photos are unedited, her posts uplifting, and her platform is used to highlight lesser-known causes and activists.
Despite the actor’s authenticity, as a conventionally attractive woman herself, she’s been criticized for speaking out against body-shaming and societal beauty expectations. Critics seem to believe women at the forefront of the body positivity movement should better represent the disadvantaged community they defend.
On Twitter, Jamil responded to these criticisms by saying, “Fat phobia and ableism leads those with power to willfully ignore the voices of the most important activists. Because of my privilege, they are not currently ignoring me. I take it as my duty to use that privilege to push things forward.”
I in particular want to address this to plus size black women, who I continue to see are so left out of this conversation. It’s my bad for not having understood your plight and fought harder with you sooner. It was ignorance, not a lack of care. I stand with you now and forever. https://t.co/ZvXRubVtaS
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 22, 2019
While Jamil’s explanation is valid, her actions shouldn’t have to be justified. It’s admirable that Jamil is using her privilege and fame to further the causes that benefit everyone.
That’s why #IWeigh is so important. The campaign’s Instagram account has over 300,000 followers, allowing the people who submit their photos to reach a much wider group than they would otherwise. Jamil rarely posts photos of herself there. Instead, people with unique sizes, shapes, and skin colours greet you when you click through the page.
It’s important for our generation to have fiercely outspoken female role models in Hollywood and over social media. Jamil’s refusal to back down when it comes to speaking about what she believes won’t only inspire others to reject gender expectations, but also has the capacity to affect change. She may only be one voice, but Jamil’s shown that when you use your privilege against the patriarchal system, people listen.
Jamil’s refusal to back down when it comes to speaking about what she believes won’t only inspire others to reject gender expectations, but also has the capacity to affect change
Recently, Jamil shared that she wore jeans under her dress at the 2019 Golden Globes. She paid for the dress—and, I’m guessing, the jeans—out of pocket, did her own makeup, and wore jeans because she knew it’d be cold.
If that isn’t the most relatable thing a celebrity’s ever done, I don’t know what is.
Source: Queen’s Journal
Jameela and the rest of the cast of NBC’s The Good Place were on Conan last night. You can check out a playlist of clips from the show above. Enjoy!