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Jameela Jamil encourages self-love and body positivity at Ohio State

Actress Jameela Jamil giving a talk at Ohio State on March 25. Credit: Julianne Kerver

Jameela Jamil brought a message of body positivity and self-love to Ohio State students Monday night when OUAB hosted the actress, model and activist at the Ohio Union.

Jamil spoke to Ohio State students about her tumultuous childhood in England as well as her journey into acting, going from a teacher to a television host to a columnist to becoming one of the stars of NBC’s wildly popular show “The Good Place.”

After she had a breast cancer scare, Jamil said she decided it was “now or never” and bought a one-way ticket to the United States to take a chance on an acting career.

Not only is Jamil known for her role as Tahani Al-Jamil in “The Good Place,” but she’s an advocate for body positivity and started the “I Weigh” movement on social media.

The movement focuses on self-love and forgiving past mistakes to grow as a person, as well as celebrating who we are internally and externally, according to Jamil. She said she wants “I Weigh” to “teach gratitude, self-respect and self-pride.”

Aruni Prakash, a finance student and OUAB’s new comedy director for 2019, said the organization decided to bring Jamil to campus because of the positive role she plays for this generation and how she promotes the message of OUAB — to entertain the students and promote diversity.

“She’s an activist and the voice of representation for so many demographics,” Prakash said.

Jamil called herself a “feminist-in-progress.” She said she had “internalized misogyny and made mistakes,” but believes that by asking significant questions and becoming tolerant and forgiving of each other, we can make progress toward a better society.

She actively works on making her social media a more inclusive space for all people, Jamil said, as reflected through her “I Weigh” movement and her retaliation against celebrities who promote unhealthy products. She said she doesn’t take days off because body-shaming never does.

Ghafeera Malik, a first-year in biology, said she attended the talk because she admires the actress and activist.

“[My] cultural background is the same as hers, and you rarely see people like us on TV,” Malik said. “It’s rare to see yourself in American media.”

The open Q&A during the second half of the event allowed students to ask the actress for advice on body positivity, loving themselves and how to navigate a world flooded with unrealistic images and expectations for women.

Jamil also shared her own personal mantra: “Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend … Be your own best friend.”

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