"I'm excited at the idea that I might have a positive impact on young women rather than a negative one."
Photo: Roy Rochlin / Getty Images
The Good Place's Jameela Jamil is known for being wildly against diet culture and the unrealistic beauty standards that plague society (typically by way of social media). The actress and model hasn't held back, making headlines for calling out celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Cardi B for promoting unhealthy weight-loss fads like detox teas and appetite suppressants. While her approach might seem blunt and harsh to some, Jamil hopes that she's succeeding in changing the conversation about body image. (Related: What All Those Fad Diets Are Actually Doing to Your Health)
"I really think I am making it too embarrassing for other people to sell laxative teas, which truly may be my greatest achievement," she told People. "I'm excited at the idea that I might have a positive impact on young women rather than a negative one, which is more often than not what you end up having on people if you allow the industry to airbrush you, to Photoshop you, let you lie about your aesthetic, and you put negative rhetoric out into the world. So I feel excited to be part of the change."
Jamil's ultimate mission is to show how misleading Hollywood can be so that impressionable young women aren't fighting to look and feel "perfect" all the time. "It's really important, and it will only help, it won't hurt anyone," she told People.
Calling out celebrities isn't the only way Jamil has taken a stand against Hollywood for promoting bad body image. Like model Iskra Lawrence, Jamil doesn't allow photographers and magazines to retouch her photos—and has no problem putting her stretch marks and other "flaws" on full display. This, in part, is a result of her own crazy experiences with photoshopping in the industry, she says.
"There was one time where I shot a campaign and I had gained some weight," she said. "I wasn't asked beforehand, but they put my head on someone else's body. I mean that's how far it goes. They took my head and put it someone else's body. I got no neck, my face is a different color, and it looks like I'm complicit in it." (Related: Watch How Quickly This Blogger Is Able to Photoshop Her Entire Body for the 'Gram)
At the end of the day though, Jamil feels that the industry is changing and becoming more welcoming of all people. "I think that the moment of diversity is really here, and it's really important that we're recognizing the problem with erasure, with ethnic erasure," she said. "I was a victim of that when I was younger, and really need to see representatives with every skin color and their real ethnic noses. Their real cellulite and stretch marks all over the red carpet."
And despite her bold, public stances against celebs, Jamil has received more praise than hate for becoming such a strong advocate for health.
"Most people have been very supportive, and I think I'm talking about it in a very clear way that helps people understand my personal journey with this, and that I'm not doing this as performative activism," she said. "I genuinely suffered because of these things that I'm now trying to dismantle."