Jameela Jamil

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Jameela Jamil
Jameela Jamil at the 2018 Comic-Con International (42913091955) (cropped).jpg
Jamil at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2018
Jameela Alia Burton-Jamil

(1986-02-25) 25 February 1986 (age 33)
London, England, United Kingdom
  • Presenter
  • actress
  • activist
  • DJ
Years active2009–present
Height5 ft 10 12 in (1.79 m)[1]
Partner(s)James Blake (2015–present)
Websitejameelajamil.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata

Jameela Alia Burton-Jamil (born 25 February 1986) is a British actress, radio presenter, model, writer and activist. She began her career on T4, where she hosted a pop culture show from 2009 until 2012. Then she became the radio host of The Official Chart, and was co-host of The Official Chart Update alongside Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1. She was the first solo female presenter of the BBC Radio 1 chart show.[2]

Following a breast cancer scare in 2016, Jamil moved to the United States. Whilst there, she was cast as Tahani Al-Jamil in the NBC fantasy comedy series The Good Place.[3] She has modeled for both British and American Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Japanese Teen Vogue,[4] and written for The Times, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, and Company.[5] She is also widely regarded as a body neutrality activist and is well known for her activism, especially against popular diet products.[6]

Early life[edit]

Jameela Alia Burton-Jamil was born in London, England, United Kingdom, on 25 February 1986,[7] to an Indian father and a Pakistani mother. She was born with congenital hearing loss and labyrinthitis, which she has had several operations to correct. She states that she has 70% audibility in her left ear and 50% in her right ear as of 2015.[8] At school, Jamil says she was "bookish and shy".[9] At the age of nine, she was diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder causing i.e. loose joints, joint pain, stretchy skin, and abnormal scar formation[10] As a teenager, she suffered from anorexia nervosa and did not eat a full meal between the ages of 14 and 17. She has stated that she believes her eating disorder developed due to societal pressure:

I was bombarded with a narrative that had no alternative. There were never any women who were celebrated for their intellect ... and all of my magazines were selling me weight loss products or telling me to be thin. Otherwise, I wasn't worth anything.[11]

At the age of 17, Jamil was struck by a car while running from a bee, breaking several bones and damaging her spine. She was told that she might never walk again, but she slowly recovered after steroid treatment and physiotherapy, using a Zimmer frame to start walking.[12][13] She cites the car accident as what pushed her towards recovery, stating that "it changed [her] relationship with [her] body" and "figuratively knocked some sense into [her]".[11] She attended Queen’s College School in London and taught English to foreign students at the Callan School of English in London.[13] She also worked as a model, photographer, and fashion scout for Premier Model Management Limited.[12][14][15]


2009–2015: Early career in the media[edit]

Jamil at London Fashion Week in 2009

Jamil appeared on the E4 show Music Zone towards the end of 2008. She began presenting T4 in 2009.[16][17] In January 2009, Alexa Chung left the morning TV show Freshly Squeezed; Jamil succeeded her as co-host, alongside Nick Grimshaw.[14][16][18][19]

Jamil presented The Closet, an online fashion advice show on the social networking site Bebo.[17][18][20] Created and produced by Twenty Twenty Television, it formed part of the Bebo Originals commission programme.[20] Jamil was photographed for a Vogue feature on "British Editorial Class of 2010" in January of that year, by David Bailey.

From 2011 to 2014 she wrote a column for Company, the women's monthly magazine.[17][21] In January 2012, Jamil replaced June Sarpong as the new host of the reality show Playing It Straight.[22] In 2012, it was announced that Reggie Yates would leave BBC Radio 1 and Jamil would replace him. At the end of 2012 Jamil became the radio host of The Official Chart, and was co-host of The Official Chart Update alongside Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1. Jamil made radio history, becoming the first sole female presenter of the BBC Radio 1 Chart show.[23] In June 2012, Jamil collaborated with Very to debut her first fashion collection.[24]

2016–present: Transition into acting[edit]

Jamil at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con
It's very exciting. I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but there's also a huge lack of ethnic minorities in showbiz. I'm completely Asian – not mix – and I'm so proud to be such a big part of Radio 1. I actually can't wait to get started now!

 — Jamil, on being the first female host of The Official Chart[25]

In 2016, at the age of 29 and following a breast cancer scare, Jamil left London and moved to Los Angeles,[26] with no plans of acting, instead intending to work as a screenwriter[27]. Her agent told her that Michael Schur, who co-created Parks and Recreation, was looking for a British actress for a new upcoming comedy series. Although Jamil had no prior acting experience at this point and was wary of auditioning, she agreed to do so. She was later recalled for a second interview, and was given the role.[28][29][30]

The show premiered in September 2016, with Jamil being a regular cast member of the NBC fantasy comedy series The Good Place, where she plays Tahani Al-Jamil, alongside Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.[31] Jamil's character became known for her tendency to name drop.[32]

Jamil made her first American magazine cover on the February 2018 edition of The Cut.[33] She provided her voice as a guest on the animated television series DuckTales.[34] In 2018, Jamil joined the cast of Disney's Indian-inspired cartoon set in fictional Jalpur. Mira, Royal Detective is expected to air on Disney Junior channels in 2020, with Jamil playing Mira's Auntie Pushpa.[35] In 2018, Jamil hosted a recurring segment on Last Call with Carson Daly during its final season, entitled "Wide Awake with Jameela Jamil".[36]

Since 2019, Jamil has been the host of Misery Index, a show on TBS.[37]


Late in 2015, Jamil launched Why Not People?, an events and membership company dedicated to hosting live entertainment events accessible to people with disabilities.[38] In March 2018, Jamil created an Instagram account called I Weigh,[39] inspired by a picture that she came across online of Kourtney, Kim and Khloé Kardashian with their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, detailing each woman's weight.[40] Jamil describes I Weigh as "a movement... for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are, and look past the flesh on our bones".[41] The account welcomes submissions of followers' non-edited or airbrushed selfies using the hashtag #iweigh, with text describing the things that they feel grateful for or proud of.[41][40] In part due to this work, Jamil was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women during 2018.[42]

Jamil has been a critic of diet shakes and eating suppressant products. She explained that as a teenager she starved herself, took laxatives and tips from celebrities on how to maintain a low weight. She has criticised rapper Cardi B, the Kardashians and other influencers for promoting diet suppressants via social media.[43] Jamil created a petition via change.org, titled "Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media", with a goal of reaching 150,000 signatures. She called upon social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to ban the practice, noting its dangerous rhetoric on young impressionable teenagers.[44]

There's little to no information about the side effects or main ingredients, the harm they may cause or any of the science behind how these products are supposed to work. They are instead, flogged in glossy paid adverts by celebrities and influencers with no expertise or authority in nutrition/medicine/biology.

— An excerpt from Jamil's diet petition[44]

Jamil also supports the climate change movement, expressing her admiration for Jane Fonda, Greta Thunberg and several other climate change activists, but states that she herself is unable to partake.[45]


Jamil appeared on C4 Orange Rockcorps 2009, volunteering for to help create a concert to fund local community projects.[46] She has supported the Cultural Learning Alliance, which promotes access to culture for children and young people,[47] and Vinspired National Awards for people aged 16–25 who have contributed to their communities through volunteering.[48][49] Jamil designed her own version of SpongeBob SquarePants to be auctioned off with all the proceeds going to Childline.[50] Jamil also said that she would wear a chicken costume for the same number of days equal to the number of thousands of pounds she raises for Comic Relief. She was sponsored approximately £16,000 and wore the costume for 16 consecutive days.[51]


Jamil was one of fifteen women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue "Forces for Change", by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.[52]

On 2 August 2019, Jamil was awarded "Advocate of the Year" from the Ehlers-Danlos Society.[53]

Personal life[edit]

Jamil has been in a relationship with musician James Blake since 2015.[54]

In May 2019, Jamil shared that she had an abortion earlier in her life. She stated, "It was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn't want, and wasn't ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially."[55]

On 10 October 2019, as part of World Mental Health Day, Jamil revealed she survived a suicide attempt six years prior. She criticised the lack of services for those who struggled with mental health issues. She also revealed that she partook in EMDR therapy to treat her post traumatic stress disorder.[56]



Year Title Role Notes
2019 How to Build a Girl


Year Title Role Notes
2009–2012 Freshly Squeezed Herself Lead host
2012 Playing It Straight Herself Host
2015 The Great Comic Relief Bake Off Herself Series 2, Episode 3
2016–present The Good Place Tahani Al-Jamil Main cast
2018 Last Call with Carson Daly Herself Host, recurring segment, Wide Awake with Jameela Jamil
2018 Hollywood Game Night Herself Episode: "Ho Ho Holiday Game Night"
2019 Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate Herself
2019 DuckTales Gandra Dee (voice) Episode: "The Dangerous Chemistry of Gandra Dee!"[34]
2019 Misery Index Herself Lead host
2020 Mira, Royal Detective Auntie Pushpa (voice) Recurring role[57]


Year Title Role Notes
2013–2015 The Official Chart Host BBC Radio 1
2013 The Official Chart Update Co-host BBC Radio 1


  1. ^ "Biography". Jameela Jamil. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Clara Amfo to present BBC Radio 1's Official Chart Show". Retrieved 30 January 2017.
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  11. ^ a b "Jameela Jamil on banning airbrushing, the Kardashians and her traumatic teens". Channel 4 News. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ a b Mulloy, Katie; Bella Howard (photographer); Steve Morriss (stylist) (December 2009), Nylon, New York: Nylon Holding Inc. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  29. ^ Fetters, Ashley (11 January 2018). "Jameela Jamil Had Never Acted Before 'The Good Place'". GQ. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
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  34. ^ a b Jamil, Jameela [@jameelajamil] (21 September 2018). "Joining the cast of Ducktales and living out my childhood dream! couldn't be more excited. 🤓" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 November 2018 – via Twitter.
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  41. ^ a b "What is i_weigh – @i_weigh". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
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  44. ^ a b "100,000 People Sign Jameela Jamil's Petition To Stop Celeb Endorsed Diets". 10 February 2019.
  45. ^ "I think what Jane Fonda is doing for climate change awareness is so amazing. But people keep swarming me with messages asking me when I'm going to go and get arrested too. I am a brown female immigrant. I'm gonna support from the outside. And That is that on that. ❤️". Twitter. 24 November 2019.
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  47. ^ "Stories". Cultural Learning Alliance. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  48. ^ "Millennium Volunteers, Youth Volunteers, Volunteering Opportunities". Bacyp.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  49. ^ "national awards". Nationalawards.vinspired.com. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  50. ^ "Photos from the Spongebob Squarepants Tenth Birthday Celebration and Charity Auction With The Saturdays, Sophie Ellis-Bextor". Popsugar.co.uk. 22 January 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
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  53. ^ "Jameela Jamil on Instagram: "Proud to be an @ehlers.danlos advocate of the year. I got diagnosed at 9 years old and there is still so little information 20 years later…"". Instagram. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  54. ^ "Jameela Jamil on Instagram: "3 years with this untalented bastard ❤️"". Instagram. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  55. ^ Jamil, Jameela [@jameelajamil] (13 May 2019). "I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn't want, and wasn't ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially. So many children will end up in foster homes. So many lives ruined. So very cruel" (Tweet). Retrieved 16 May 2019 – via Twitter.
  56. ^ Jamil  🌈, Jameela [@jameelajamil] (10 October 2019). "Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay This month, 6 years ago, I tried to take my own life. I'm so lucky that I survived, and went on to use EMDR to treat my severe PTSD. I urge you to hang on just a bit longer and ask for help if you need it. Because things can turn around. I promise" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 October 2019 – via Twitter.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  57. ^ "Disney Junior Orders Animated Mystery Series Inspired by Indian Cultures and Customs". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 December 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Scott Mills
BBC Radio 1
Chart show presenter

13 January 2013 – 18 January 2015
Succeeded by
Clara Amfo