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Press/Video: Jameela Jamil Is Shutting Up and Making Space in 2019

Press/Video: Jameela Jamil Is Shutting Up and Making Space in 2019

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.

Source: Elle

Press: My Life: Jameela Jamil On Body Image, Disability And Why We Need More Diversity In The Media

When it comes to challenging the norm, Jameela Jamil is quite the pro.

As a kid, she suffered “a fair bit of bullying.” As a teenager, she was hit by a car and told she may never walk again. And as as adult, she became the first ever solo female presenter of Radio 1’s Official Chart.

Now, instead of sitting back and reveling in the fact that’s she’s totally “made it”, the 28-year-old is using her influence to champion equal rights for women and people with disabilities.

She’s even agreed to guest edit HuffPost UK Lifestyle for International Women’s Day.

“I’ve always been passionate about the concept of helping the underdog. It just doesn’t make sense to me as to what kind of person would take a huge platform and not use it to do something, to change something, to help people,” Jamil tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

“So many people are campaigning, fighting and even dying to make a statement in the name of humanity. These people have no voice that can be heard by many. I wish more celebrities would take the initiative to be that voice.

“How many fucking cars, shoes and private planes do you need? If you have time to get your pet rabbit its own Instagram account, you have time to at least tweet about something important.”

More than anything, Jamil wants her fellow celebs to encourage young people to think about the world they are growing up in, and challenge any injustice they see.

She herself did not have an easy childhood.

“I was fat, deaf and Indian, in a school that didn’t like fat, deaf Indians,” she says.

“I was very awkward, far too tall for my own good and constantly missing school because I was in and out of hospital having operations, including some big ones for my hearing. So I didn’t really stand a chance.”

Surprisingly, Jamil was completely disinterested in show business and fashion during her formative years.

“I was a total academic and very socially inept around my peers – constantly saying or doing the wrong thing,” she says.

“I didn’t really have a group of friends ’till I was 19, and I didn’t kiss anyone until I was 21.

“It was a bloody nightmare. I am the only woman I know who loves getting older because it’s another step away from my god awful teens.”

Despite all that, Jamil says her childhood has had a positive impact on her adult life as it was “incredibly character building.”

This ability to take a crappy situation and turn it into something to be proud of is what makes Jamil stand out from other celebrities.

At 17 years old, she was hit by a car and suffered damage to her spine. The accident left her unable to urinate alone for over a year and forced her to “navigate [her] way to 20 on a zimmerframe.”

But ever positive, Jamil says her experience of disability taught her to “never take another day for granted.”

“It gave me the kick up the arse and the reality check I needed. I had a very tough childhood and adolescence, including a fair bit of bullying at school and then caring for very mentally ill members of my family, and by 17 I had lost any love for life that I could muster up.

“But once I was faced with the reality of losing my liberty or even my life, I woke up and decided to fight. And I don’t think that fight will ever die in me again,” she says.

And Jamil certainly is fighting. At 28, she has become a spokesperson for disabled people across the country and has even set up her own company Why Not People?, which arranges ordinary gigs for disabled individuals.

“The pity is unbearable when you have a disability. You don’t need it, you don’t want it. You just want to get on with your life and shake off the week the way other people your age do,” she says.

“You want to join the conversation, be a part of a society you are entitled to join and just enjoy the rite of passage that you deserve.”

“But even in this day and age, and in such a developed country, we make little to no room for this huge portion of our public. – 11.8 million people to be exact.”

So how did Jamil go from unpopular teen to a model and one of the country’s most popular TV and radio presenters?

She says TV and music “saved [her] sanity” when she was recovering from the accident.

“I genuinely think watching television 24 hours a day is how I learned how to present. Entertainment saved my life during that time, and suddenly I started to take that whole world much more seriously,” she says.

Once she was able to walk again, Jamil lost the extra weight she had put on while bed-bound by walking everywhere.

“I’m not a member of a gym. I don’t work out. I just walk. I’m very lazy,” she jokes. “I’m so unfit I once got a stomach cramp during sex. That’s embarrassing isn’t it?”

Does she think there are more pressures surrounding body image on young girls today than there was for her growing up?

“I came into my teens around the era of heroin chic – the most disgusting of all disgusting media faux pas – so I think it’s been around a while, but the internet has put it on steroids,” she says.

“Not to mention the tsunami of gossip magazines drenching us in insecurity and lies. I remember girls at my school eating while standing on weighing scales to make sure they weren’t gaining weight, which is absolutely preposterous, but it happened.

“Now body image obsession amongst both men and women is at an all-time high. We are a generation obsessed. I mean, vampire facials and bum injections? Really?”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the key to tackling body image issues and promoting equality across all boards is seeing a diverse range of people celebrated in the media.

As Jamil puts it, “a lack of diversity feeds discrimination.”

“Why am I the only Indian presenter on mainstream youth entertainment in maybe the last 10 years?” she asks.

“It means that people of different races don’t have someone they can relate to. Even in small ways, like dark skinned girls wanting to see what make up looks like on a celebrity that isn’t porcelain white.

“Even in the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, it’s still hard to see accurate depictions of society on screen and in magazines.”

While she continues to tirelessly campaign, a recent cancer scare led to Jamil quitting the Radio1 Official Chart show to travel the world and work abroard – something she’s always wanted to do.

She seems like a woman who has her feet firmly on the ground, but is she really as together as she seems?

“There is a myth that fame makes your life perfect. If anything, money aside, it rips it to pieces. I think I could count the amount of well adjusted celebrities I’ve met… on one hand.

“Because these are just ordinary people, who are trying to work out who they are, but they have magnifying glass on them at all times, waiting for them to slip up. And worst of all, they are worshipped and congratulated constantly for doing things that aren’t actually that miraculous.

“Celebrities who project these perfect images of their lives are being irresponsible. It’s a lie. It’s a lie that is bought by billions of people who feel inferior because they buy into the falsehoods.

“This is why I write very honest columns about my struggles and many short comings as a young woman. To disembowl the the smoke and mirrors. To make sure that the people who are kind enough to take any interest in me, know I fuck up too, and that I am right there with them, sweating.”

Source: Huffington Post

Press: Jameela Jamil Launches Size Inclusive Clothing Line With Simply Be

Press: Jameela Jamil Launches Size Inclusive Clothing Line With Simply Be

Jameela Jamil is hoping to put an end to the term ‘plus size’ for good with the launch of her new fashion line.

The TV personality, radio presenter and model has designed a new collection with Simply Be, which will be the most size inclusive range available on the UK high street – with all items available in sizes ranging from 10 to 32.

The 11-piece collection has been designed to suit women of varying shapes and sizes, and includes 70s chic inspired dresses and sophisticated party separates.

Jamil revealed the inspiration for her collection came from a desire to stop women being defined by their size in the fashion world.

“I find it infuriating that in this industry, size 10 and above is defined as ‘plus size’ especially when the average dress size in the UK is a 16,” she said.

“We really shouldn’t be putting a label on size, fashion is for all and I think confidence and happiness is more important than dress labels.”

The 29-year-old also explained to OK magazine why it was important to her that her range was so size inclusive.

“There shouldn’t be a segregation of women over a size 16, it should just be all women who want to wear beautiful clothes,” she said.

Source: Huffington Post

Press: ‘Why Not People’ Launch

Radio One DJ, Jameela Jamil tells Able about a new events company that specialises in making sure that there is full accessibility for a large number of disabled people at music venues.

What’s different about Why Not People? is that rather than have them at the side or on a platform, separated from their friends and family, they’ll be at the front, in the middle of all the action with their friends and family.

Who are you aiming to help?

We cater to people with different impairments, so that’s physical, hearing, sight and so on. For people with hearing impairments we even have SubPac technology which allows you to ‘feel’ the music.

It’s a very safe environment because as a members club we know about what you need and we look after you.

How do you integrate wheelchair users into the audience, rather than having them on a separate platform?

We have a seating structure; three seats and then a wheelchair – three seats and then a wheelchair – so you can bring up to three of your mates and two wheelchair users could be next to each other – it’s just collapsible seating basically. We’ve had the chief medical officer of the Paralympics oversee the whole thing.

If you look at Wembley Arena, there are 90,000 seats but out of those only 0.35% have disabled access – at Wembley Arena, one of the most developed buildings in our country! That’s a pretty strong reflection as to how negligent we’re being. We’re basically shutting out a huge portion of our society – 11.8 million people have a disability in this country and it seems embarrassing to me that businesses don’t open their doors to them.

If Wembley had more wheelchair spaces would they sell more tickets?

The point is that we’re still shutting out a huge portion of our society and its embarrassing how few people you see with wheelchairs or walking aids out and about in clubs, bars and restaurants and you just think: ‘well, it’s because there aren’t ramps or railings where there should be’. There is one disabled access toilet for every 10 non-disabled access toilets.

First of all, every toilet should be accessible – and obviously every so often you have places that are in the basement; I can understand that it’s very difficult, but people have to make the necessary changes.

Disabled people have a spending power of £80 billion – it doesn’t have to be a charity thing – it should just be something that businesses do in order to make money. Stop looking at people as a pity case – just look at them as relevant customers who are just looking to go somewhere to shake of the week.

Have you had to ‘sell’ this idea to venues? Have the figures helped you?

Yes, they really have and I think it’s also been about watching my best friend who has cerebral palsy, miss out socially so much because of his disability, because he’s treated so differently. There’s still this awkwardness around people with disability because they’re not seen socially on a day-to-day basis. I just think that that’s so embarrassing because I was disabled for a period of time before and I’m no different now to who I was then – I can just walk now, whereas I couldn’t walk then. I find it embarrassing that we’ve come so far with all of our technology and we can’t make these basic gestures.

Members of the scheme can buy tickets for themselves and three of their friends. So the choices are in their hands for a change…

Well, that was purely because I knew we’d have an amazing line-up (of artists doing accessible gigs) and I didn’t want all of the tickets to go immediately to people who didn’t have a disability. I wanted to make sure that the room was full of an equal proportion of people with disabilities; that was really important to me. So I like the fact that if you were the only one who had the chance to buy the tickets, that people with disabilities would be in control. That way with the members club, we’d be able to see who was coming and make sure that we’d be able to take care of them appropriately, according to their condition.

It looks like you’re also aiming for this to be a social community

Absolutely, the thing is that we want to eventually have our own kind of online presence when it comes to having chat rooms where you know it’s safe because the people would all be members and they could meet up at gigs.

We’re looking for it to be a whole social movement because we’d like to change the fact that it doesn’t feel as if disabled people are being integrated properly into society. That’s why we want them to be able to bring their mates along. Rather than it just be a room full of people with disabilities, we want to show that clubs can be full of variation and that it can be a great night out – and that its fun and everyone spends money and they go home and they’ve had a lovely time.

You’ve got a great line-up of artists wanting to play accessible gigs. How did you get Ed Sheeran and Coldplay involved?

I just called them and asked. Why wouldn’t they? Who wouldn’t?

Perhaps that’s it… It’s about asking why don’t you..?

Exactly. I didn’t need to shame anyone into it; everyone just thought: what a great idea. Why hasn’t it been done before? That was exciting for me – really nice. There was so much love from all of the artists. I wanted to go for the biggest because I wanted to prove to other venues that haven’t bothered to make their places accessible that big artists do come and they do want to play to this audience and that this audience do want to come out and buy the tickets – so it’s way overdue.

Source: Able Magazine

Press/Video: Inside Jameela Jamil’s Christmas list…

Press/Video: Inside Jameela Jamil’s Christmas list…

With a little help from Pandora, Jameela has listed her ultimate festive wish list so there’ll be no sad faces around the tree this year

Christmas is just around the corner (the John Lewis advert has arrived, after all) which means the world and its wife are busy in the throws of organising all the important details to make this year the best it can be.

But radio DJ extraordinaire, Jameela Jamil, has gone one step further, making some very generous efforts to save her family and friends the trauma of working out what on earth to buy her. She’s used Pandora’s brilliant wishlist function to compile a list of all things Pandora she’d like to find under the tree this coming December 25th. GENIUS.

1) The PANDORA daisy stacking rings
2) Circus letters with fairy lights inside spelling out JAM
3) Small mp3 playing jukebox
4)A Lulu Guinness silver mirror lips clutch
5) A pair of Nicolas Kirkwood shoes
6) PANDORA feather necklace
7) A good Fuji mini Polaroid camera
8) Jake Gyllenhaal’s phone number
9) Matthew Williamson big pink and blue furry jacket
10) Are we allowed to ask for people? If we are allowed to ask for people, please can I have Lena Dunham? I promise to keep her carefully.

One of the people who will be especially relieved to read Jameela’s Christmas wishlist is her fellow presenter and pal Rick Edwards. Let’s face it, Jameela wouldn’t mince her words if he presented her with a less-than-impressive pair of Dad socks, would she?

Yeah, they’re not the best liars in the world, are they? Which is why it’s a super-brilliant idea to create your own wishlist. It’s simple: head to this nifty section of the Pandora site, sign up, browse the site to see which stacking rings, charms and other Pandora beauties you’d like to unwrap this year, pop them into a nice list, share them on social media or via email with all those loved ones who are planning to treat you this Christmas, and just like magic: it’s a happy Crimbo all round.

And if Pandora weren’t doing enough for you this Christmas, they’re also playing Santa themselves with an unmissable competition. Once you’ve signed up to the PANDORA Club, created and then shared your wishlist, you’ll automatically be entered into the #PANDORAwishes competition where you could win a £500 gift card to spend on Pandora goodies, as well as one of three ultimate wishes, one of which comes straight from Jameela’s own Christmas list. Yeah, AMAZING, right?

Source: Cosmopolitan

Press: Jameela Jamil launches her fashion line for Very

Press: Jameela Jamil launches her fashion line for Very

Last night Cosmo partied with Jameela Jamil to have an exclusive first look at her new collection for Very.co.uk

Gosh, it’s a hard life being a Cosmo girl, last night we hot-footed it over to London’s uber exclusive hotspot, Sketch for a sneaky little look at JAM by Jameela Jamil, her debut collection for Very.

Following in the footsteps of Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby, Jameela has delivered a feel-good autumn winter collection consisting of paint-box primary colours and gorgeous prints combined with classic pieces and red-carpet worthy delights.

And you’ll be pleased to know, Jameela’s collection is a ‘bodycon-free zone’; there are cozy knits and ladylike shirts, cute playsuits and the most gorgeous prom dress we’ve ever seen. Plus, there are slouchy separates for the daytime and cinched in silhouettes for the evening. She’s done it all – and we can’t forget the super cool paw print pieces – LOVE.

Jameela, who looked stunning in one of her own designs, told us: “I’m so nervous. Seriously, I’m REALLY nervous – I feel sick. I put my all to this collection, I even painted the pattern on this dress I’m wearing. I put my all in to it, sketches, painting, materials, everything.”

Talented and modest, could we more of a Jameela fan right now? With prices starting from £20, It looks like JAM by Jameela Jamil is going to be this season’s biggest hit.

Source: Cosmopolitan