While most Hollywood actresses on hit TV shows are desperate to show us their best angle, all the time, Jameela Jamil is more interested in depicting reality. Cellulite and all.
She is an outspoken campaigner against airbrushing in the fashion and beauty industries, and uses social media as a platform to boost self-esteem and corral people together to stand up against unrealistic and damaging beauty ideals.
In February 2018, Jamil launched I Weigh, a body empowerment movement that came out of her frustration at seeing women subliminally taught to self-bully and internalise shame as a result of their appearance. I Weigh launched as the result of Jamil’s fury at women being valued as a number on a scale above any other aspect of their lives, and has turned into the leading body positivity movement.
I Weigh, which has nearly half a million followers, is just one of the incredible movements that The Good Place star is putting her energy into. Here’s why – and when – we can’t get enough of Jameela Jamil.
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Every time she tears apart a heavily airbrushed photo of herself – or anyone else
Jameela has been using Instagram as a force for good: slamming airbrushing, body shaming and all the other evils that women are subjected to in the media. In March 2019, she unearthed an old photo of herself, candidly writing: “I was just doing a new spoof motivation sultry pic and was struck by how heavily edited this picture of me is. How dare they? It made me so mentally unwell trying to live up to this image in person. Airbrushing is the damn DEVIL.”
Mixing humour and candour, Jamil reveals all of the evils that befell her in this photo: skin lightening, stretch mark removal, changing the shape of her knees and slimming her arms and ankles. And everywhere, women rejoiced.
Every time she’s alter-ego Tahani on The Good Place
So, she’s a ridiculous celebrity name-dropper who’s snobby, vain, looks phenomenal in cocktail-wear and knows how to throw one heck of a party: meet Jamil’s TV alter-ego from The Good Life, Tahani Al-Jamil, who also happens to be lovable, relatable and a beautifully flawed human. Considering the London-born presenter never acted before her turn in this award-winning show, colour us even more impressed. “I would say I outdid myself, but I’m always this good,” Tahani says. “So I simply did myself.”
Every time she wears whatever she wants on the red carpet
Jeans under her gown for the Golden Globes. £6 ‘funfair bag’ goldfish earrings from Etsy at the Grammys. Jameela Jamil plays by her own dress code rules, and we love it. Especially when she yet again proves she doesn’t have to conform to outrageous standards – like freezing, half-nude, in a frothy dress outside in the winter – just because others before her have.
Every time she makes a company see the light
When Jameela talks, people listen. In fact, really important people listen. Jamil has called out everyone from the Kardashians for being a “terrible and toxic influence on young girls” to brands, telling them that she’s watching them – and won’t tolerate companies manipulating women into buying products they don’t need. When Avon released a misguided ad shaming women about their cellulite and Jamil called them out on it via social media, they did the unthinkable: they removed all the campaign messaging and admitted they’d “missed the mark.” Jamil inspires progress: not just for women “to feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones” – I Weigh’s mantra – but for out-of-touch brands to see and understand the error of their ways. And the importance of change.
Every time she speaks
Jameela Jamil touches hundreds of thousands of people every time she posts anything on social media, but when she gives a speech, it’s electrifying.
READ MORE: Jameela Jamil: The 2019 MAKERS Conference
At the 2019 MAKERS Conference, Jamil read a powerful speech she’d written, a call to end the culture of toxic masculinity, advising women to tell their sons the truth: to talk to them about sex, about subjugation, about women’s strength and sexiness and power and suffering. To tell them about how men can be part of a brighter future.
In case you’re wondering, Jamil is as funny as she is informative. We’ll leave you with a small excerpt from her talk below.
“Tell him about sex. Not just reproduction. Sex. The pleasurable fun part of it. The joy of equal pleasure and enthusiastic consent. Do not shy away from this. Do not make it an awkward topic in your house. If you push him into the shadows, he will find PornHub in there and that will become his teacher. And nobody wants that shit. Nobody. Learning to have sex from porn, is like learning how to drive from The Fast and The Furious. A bloody horrendous idea.”