Jameela Jamil on Finding Her Own Self Worth

Jameela Jamil on Finding Her Own Self Worth featured image
Photography by Sela Shiloni
This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

The 35-year-old British actress and activist began her journey in the media as a television host and model in an industry that focuses on the exterior. “If I could go back and tell my younger self anything, it’s that your weight and how little space you take up in the world is the absolute least interesting thing about you. So focus less on that, and instead, put your focus on all of the amazing things you can do, learn and experience.”

On Knowing Your Worth

Jamil says the I Weigh movement began as her own act of social media rebellion. “When I saw photos on my feed that had women’s weights written across their bodies, I decided to post a photo of myself with all of the nonphysical things I valued. In turn, thousands of people, mostly women, started sending me photos doing the same thing, and the movement was born. It is a call to everyone, everywhere to start measuring their self-worth by the values and experiences they are proud of rather than a number on the scale. Now, our community is more than 1.3 million people strong on Instagram, and as we’ve branched out into other forms of content, including a weekly podcast and YouTube, we continue to spark conversations around mental health, radical inclusivity and allyship. My goal is for people to have a safe space to learn and grow while shedding all of the stigma and shame that society inevitably forces on us from such an early age.”

On Learning From Each Other

On her I Weigh podcast, Jamil explores the societal definition of self-worth by asking thought-leaders, activists and entertainers about how they are working through their own body image issues to find their true beauty inside.

“It has helped further reinforce my recovery from my eating disorder because I feel less alone. Just being able to talk about it has empowered me by connecting me to so many others around the world suffering from the same disease. The movement has made me more rebellious and hopeful that my community can have an impact on the next generation of kids and how they see their bodies.”

On Living With a Chronic Illness

“I generally wish more people knew about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome because it’s very under-diagnosed and under-researched. It’s a connective tissue disorder that can cause chronic pain. But, I’ve learned to be immensely grateful for what my body can do and how to be extra careful with it and protect it at all costs. So if that means turning down work and opportunities, then so be it because nothing is more important to me than my well-being.”

On Rejecting Anti-Aging

“I love aging—and after last year, I cannot imagine why anyone would consider aging as anything other than a privilege. The marks and lines on my face say that I am lucky enough to still be here, and somehow men have convinced us that only we, not them, should fear time, which is something we are so lucky to have.”

On Keeping It Simple

“My go-to skin-care products have been the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel pads and I’ve also been loving Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream and Serum Crystal Elixir. For makeup, I love my YSL primer, everything from Pat McGrath, and Urban Decay for all things eyeshadow.”

On Natural Dopamine Boosts

“My go-to wellness practice that has gotten me through the last year is having a dog. They force you to be in the present moment and are sources of such unconditional love. Some of my favorite days during the pandemic have been spent sitting at the park watching my dog play.

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