Jameela Jamil’s path to self-love wasn’t an easy one

A confessed self-love obsessive, Jameela Jamil acknowledges it’s not something she learned how to do until much later in life. But this passionate actor and activist wants others to not make the same mistake she did. 

There is so much to love about Jameela Jamil. Bubbly, unapologetic, passionate, hilarious, and ever-evolving, it wouldn’t be hard to think that, on the outside, The Good Place actor has it all figured out, herself included.

Ever-evolving is a key descriptor here, as Jamil admits there was a time, not so long ago, where her relationship with herself wasn’t as strong as it is now.

“I had just a nervous breakdown and tried to suicide,” she tells Body+Soul.

“That for me was a sort of like, ‘Oh, I think we might be in trouble here’… I literally flipped my life upside down and just start an experiment over the course of the next nine years to see if I’d be able to save my life.”

She sought-out therapy, the support of friends and family, and ‘curated’ her space with regards to who was “allowed into it”.

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“It’s an ongoing, incremental journey,” she says.

“I say exactly what’s on my mind at all times. But that authenticity has genuinely set me free.”

It’s important for Jamil to share what she’s learned with as many people as will listen, which is why she’s teamed up with The Body Shop for a global Self Love Uprising campaign.

And it could not be more urgent, with 1 in 2 women reporting they feel more self-doubt than self-love and 60 percent wishing they had more respect for themselves, according to a survey conducted by the beauty brand of 22,619 participants from 21 countries.

“I care so much about a campaign like this because I’m so obsessed with self-love because it’s something I myself haven’t practiced for most of my life and I don’t want you to end up like me,” she said in an Instagram post.

“I don’t want you to waste decades of your life hating yourself the way that I have.”

The Self-Love Uprising aligns closely with the mission of I Weigh, a “radically inclusive” online space that Jamil founded when she noticed people expressing their value on social media by the number on a set of scales. It’s not only grown to a supportive community of millions in just two years but has effected meaningful change in global policies concerning the marketing of ‘detox teas’ to minors.

The biggest lesson Jamil has learned on her own journey, from her life as an advocate and I Weigh founder, is that there is always room for self-reflection and growth.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect. And it’s not realistic. It’s really unhealthy. And it doesn’t set a very good example for young people, because then they’ve got nothing to really learn from, they just idolise you and your perfect saintlihood,” she says.

“It’s important for people in positions of power to not pretend we are perfect or stay silent or everyone will have the illusion about perfection. It’s important for us to be realistic role models.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.