As anyone who has followed Jameela Jamil over the last year knows, the actress has strong opinions on everything and everyone — and she’s not afraid to speak openly about them, for better or for worse.
Jamil’s main focus, after growing up with an eating disorder and trouble with body image, is to make sure that the people who follow her don’t have the same experience. She’s built a powerful community of like-minded people on I Weigh, her online inclusivity platform, and regularly calls out celebrities who promote products or ideas that are counter to her message.
The Good Place star, 33, made headlines for criticizing Kim and Khloé Kardashian for hawking weight loss aids like Flat Tummy Tea and appetite suppressing lollipops. But Jamil said that she’s not trying to “cancel” them.
“I’m not trying to cancel anyone. I don’t want to beef with the Kardashians. They have a huge amount of influence. I just want them to use that for more good,” she told Bustle for their 2019 Rule Breakers digital issue. “I think what Kim does with the prison system is really cool. Just stop selling laxatives and I’ll get off your d—.”
While Jamil is still against the Kardashians and Cardi B promoting these weight loss products, she has changed her mind about two celebrities she criticized in the past. In 2013, she called out Miley Cyrus for sexualizing her performances onstage and in 2014, said that Beyoncé showed too much skin in a music video.
“I regret all the mistakes I made,” she said. “I call myself a feminist-in-training. Stuff I said when I was younger — I didn’t really have all the answers yet. I hadn’t had therapy yet. I didn’t know who I was actually angry at.”
Now, Jamil says that her fight is against the various industries that have set unrealistic beauty and body standards.
“The beauty ideals of our generation are still stemmed in white supremacy,” she said. “I’m using all the different privileges I have to try to kick the door open and let everyone else in. I’m the Trojan horse.”
Jamil said she realized that she has an important voice.
“Being in the middle of this industry and being used as a vessel to set unrealistic standards for other women — because I was being photoshopped, and altered, and starved — made me realize that, ‘Oh, my God, everything I thought was real was a lie when I was a teenager. I have to tell the other teenagers.’ ”
And Jamil’s work has reached a few very famous people, including Taylor Swift, who told Bustle why she’s a fan of the actress.
“We’re all so sick of feeling like our faces and bodies are an endless to-do list of improvements to be made. In my opinion, Jameela is a much-needed crusader, fighting the war against self-cruelty,” Swift said. “I love how fearless she is in her pursuit of calling out the insidious tricks our perfection-obsessed society plays on women. Her fierceness actually provides comfort to us and a voice saying ‘These standards are ridiculous. Your body is enough as it is.’ ”
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