For most Americans, Jameela Jamil first attracted attention as Tahani Al-Jamil, a stuck-up, elitist British socialite on NBC’s The Good Place. Although that role was her first in Hollywood, Jamil actually started her career eight years earlier as a model, television presenter, and reality TV host in her native Britain. Her varied career in the most superficial fringes of the entertainment industry is part of why she’s become such a vocal advocate for body positivity.
Born to Indian and Pakistani parents in London, Jamil’s life has been shaped, in large part, by her health. She developed an eating disorder in her teenage years, and was only able to deal with it after a horrific car accident damaged her spine and broke several bones. She spent years learning how to walk and move again, and after she recovered, she had a completely different relationship to her body.
Since then, Jamil vowed to help advance this perspective for women all around the world. Her social media presence is legendary—she’s one of the only actors in Hollywood who isn’t afraid to call out other celebrities and companies for toxic beauty standards. She’s made it her mission to speak out against anything from airbrushing and Photoshop to the dubious weight loss shakes and detox teas shilled by influencers like the Kardashians, Cardi B, and Amber Rose.
Although her Instagram presence is passionate, entertaining, and relentlessly positive, Jamil hasn’t stopped there. In March of 2018, Jamil founded I Weigh, an online community focused on body positivity. It began as an Instagram account where Jamil posted all of the meaningful messages she received from young people inspired by her activism. She calls it her “revolution against shame.”
Originally, the focus was on “weighing” your accomplishments rather than your body, while radically celebrating yourself in a world that seems to exist to tear young people down. Now, I Weigh serves as a community hub, promoting in-person events and activism opportunities for people of all shapes, sizes, abilities, and ethnicities.
The Good Place is set to end with its fourth season in 2019, and it looks like Jamil intends to stay in the United States. Let’s hope that her relentless crusade against body shamers and toxic beauty standards continues to remain her primary focus. The world is better for it.