Jameela Jamil is the Advocate We've Been Waiting For

 

Jameela Jamil is a British actress most widely known as Tahani in NBC’s The Good Place. She has lately come into the media’s focus for her advocacy toward body positivity and fair treatment of women in Hollywood. Jameela Jamil has made waves standing up for herself as a celebrity and woman of color, calling out influencers and brands for supporting the patriarchal narrative, and creating the I WEIGH movement on Instagram (@i_weigh). She is using her platform to start a dialog about the media’s hyper fixation on looks, and I am all ears.

Jamil began her career as a UK Channel 4 host and later the host of BBC Radio 1 show in London. Following her hosting work, she was strongly discouraged from moving to the U.S. at age 29 being told she was “too old, fat, and ethnic” to make it in show business in the States. On March 19th, Phoebe Robinson interviewed Jamil on a recent episode of on her podcast, “Sooo Many White Guys,” highlighting how her past has led to her current mindset and advocacy work. Jamil revealed that her weight has been a struggle her entire life, having episodes of rapid weight gain, including when she was a TV host in the public eye. She was intensely fat-shamed after gaining 75 pounds due to asthma medication, citing this as the time in her life when she first became an activist. Jameela realized that the media was using her to paint the narrative of “skinny and happy” and “fat and sad,” although it was one of the best times of her life. Although Jamil has been an activist for 6 years, she says now that she is slim, famous, and in America, people are finally listening, and that in itself defines the problem.

In the past few months, Jameela Jamil has called out Avon and Kim Kardashian for cellulite shaming product ads and “appeitite-curbing” lollipop endorsements. Jamil is striking fear in the hearts of marketers and is not letting them get away with using fear and shame to sell a product. She has gotten some backlash in the media for her abrasive callouts and debates but has also experienced violent language around brown and black women describing completely normal discourse. Because she has been abused and bullied throughout her life, it is understandable that she is done with being polite and agreeable. 

Jamil believes that she was harmed as a young girl by not only not seeing her ethnicity in Hollywood but also not seeing what women actually looked like without Photoshop and surgery. She is calling for women in the public eye to own up to the ways they’ve been edited, so they can no longer disillusion young girls who look up to them.

Because of the recent attention given to her platform, Jameela Jamil launchedthe “I Weigh” campaign, a social media movement where she encourages women to describe their qualities and accomplishments rather than their appearances. “I Weigh” has now amassed 665k followers on Instagram and features photos people of all shapes, sizes, and colors who have created a post detailing what’s amazing about them in their lives and their achievements.

Whether it’s risking her career to callout a toxic advertisement or encouraging people to value themselves on their attributes and actions rather than their weight, Jameela Jamil is the advocate we’ve been waiting for to say, “the buck stops here.” She is here to defy industry standards and lift up our future generation of women and girls. “If we continue to spend so much time thinking about our bodies and thinking about our aesthetics, we will not spend that valuable time thinking about how to grow our lives and to grow ourselves and to grow our families. There are so many different types of people out there, and they should all be allowed to feel proud of themselves, and that’s all I’m fighting for.”