Is Jameela Jamil the Body-Positive Hero We Deserve?

Is Jameela Jamil the Body-Positive Hero We Deserve?

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Jameela Jamil, a British-born actress of Indian and Pakistani heritage, has made it her personal mission to take on the diet industry, Instagram influencers, beauty magazines, and Twitter trolls. But who is she, and why is she picking fights with Cardi B?

TV Presenter Turned Actress

In her native England, Jameela Jamil worked for several years as a TV presenter and host. Most recently, American audiences met her on NBC’s The Good Place, where she played snobby British socialite Tahani Al-Jamil.

These days, she’s equally famous for her no-holds-barred Twitter attacks on the Kardashians and other people she views as profiting from toxic diet culture. This month, she took aim at famous folks who promote so-called “detox teas” such as Cardi B.

Jameela also claimed that Photoshop should be illegal! In the Tweet below, she explains how mainstream magazines push the idea that women have to remain ageless and perfect, while men are allowed to have flaws and wrinkles.

No Stranger to Body Image Issues

All you have to do is look at Jameela to see that she’s a gorgeous woman. But that doesn’t mean she’s immune to body image issues. If you doubt that she’s suffered just because she’s gorgeous, think again.

As a young teenager, Jameela suffered from anorexia brought on, in part, by pressure from her peers and society’s unrealistic standards for beauty.

“I was bombarded with a narrative that had no alternative. There were never any women who were celebrated for their intellect … and all of my magazines were selling me weight loss products or telling me to be thin. Otherwise, I wasn’t worth anything,” she recalls of that time in her life.

Weight Gain and Overcoming Trauma

At the age of 17, she was hit by a car–and doctors believed she would never walk again. Although she gradually regained her mobility, her medications caused her to gain over a hundred pounds.

Later in life, after she’d lost the weight once and become famous in the UK, Jameela experienced another major weight gain of about 70 pounds. The British tabloids gleefully ripped her apart. Jameela’s response was to design a collection of fashionable, sexy plus-size clothing.

Critics are quick to point out that a gorgeous woman advocating for a Photoshop ban is, at best, a little bit tone-deaf. However, given her personal experiences, it’s no surprise that she feels passionate about her cause. Ultimately, Jameela is trying to use her fame to help others instead of hawking diet pills.