Jameela Jamil is best known as a T4 presenter, the first solo female presenter of the BBC Radio 1 Chart Show and most recently for her role as Tahani Al-Jamil on The Good Place.
She has been in and around the beauty and fashion industry for over a decade and is undeniably beautiful – something which Kristen Bell’s character is constantly pointing out on the show. Yet, crucially, this beauty is not the defining characteristic of Tahani’s flawed but lovable character – and neither is it the defining characteristic of Jameela.
Jameela has shared her history of battling and overcoming an eating disorder, facing sexism and racism throughout her life and career and has championed the need for more inclusivity within her industry. For example, she launched Why Not People? in 2015 – a company that is dedicated to hosting live entertainment events that are accessible to people with disabilities. More recently, in March 2018, Jameela used social media to launch the #IWeigh campaign to convince people to value the weight of their talents and experiences, not a figure on the scales.
Angry after seeing a photo of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters in which the weight of every woman was edited onto the photo, Jameela set up the @i_weigh Instagram account, which describes itself as a ‘movement for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones’. Jameela runs the Instagram account and posts pictures that are sent in where people have “weighed” themselves, writing a list of what they are defined by and most grateful for. Be it their sense of humour, their ability to love, their friends and family, all are empowered. The account also reposts inspirational quotes and opportunities, and Jameela has since expanded this campaign by giving talks. Her most recent talk focused on the need for parents to teach their sons about sexual consent, and how exciting and enthusiastic this consent should be for them. In the past few months, she has also spoken out against celebrities being paid to promote “detox teas” to their largely young and impressionable followers. These detox products are incredibly harmful and not compatible with a healthy lifestyle and mindset, as they promote the idea that the singular thing we should all be striving for is to be skinny. Not true.
Importantly, #IWeigh seeks to be as inclusive as possible and promotes its goal across all sexualities, genders, races and ethnicities. Jameela defines herself as a ‘feminist-in-progress’ on her personal Instagram – a fantastic phrase to describe someone who is a champion of equality but is able to admit that they are human and are still learning. She has admitted that the #IWeigh campaign has largely been taken up by white, able-bodied women and the campaign is working hard to be as inclusive as possible and understand the different challenges that many of its followers don’t have to face due to their white privilege. This campaign has been set up for everyone – reminding us all that there are no restrictions to loving yourself.
Social media is a particular battle when it comes to loving yourself, as it can seem as though everyone else has a perfect life with amazing friends, no worries and great skin. But it is important to remember that social media is just a highlight reel and not an accurate portrayal of life. If you need some help loving yourself, unfollow any toxic accounts and instead follow @i_weigh – and whilst you’re there think of how you would weigh your life. It’s time to start changing the way we think about our worth.