Jameela Jamil could have ended up on this list for a number of reasons. I classed her as an amazing role model simply for her iconic portrayal of Tahani al-Jamil on NBC’s ‘The Good Place’ despite having no prior acting experience and even two years ago I was in awe of her self confidence and sense of self worth. But then she really amazed me.
Both Jamil and her on screen counterpart have the most amazing sense of fashion but that is entirely where the resemblance stops. Last year, an image surfaced of celebrities with their weights plastered over them for the world to see and marvel at and her response was quite incredible.
She decided that people shouldn’t be measuring themselves in KG but instead achievements in life, people you love and personality traits. And finally, because everyone does, she weighs fucking kilograms.
This is how women are taught to value themselves. In KG. GRIM.
After she posted her original version of the I Weigh format, people started responding with the #iweigh accompanying their images of self love and worth. Jamil was quick to point out that this was not a body positivity movement. As someone who suffered from anorexia for the better part of two decades, she simply viewed it as a positivity movement. One in which people of all sizes, colours, genders and sexualities could take themselves away from their physical appearance and start judging their value on their achievements and personality.
The response was so big, in fact, that #iweigh is also an Instagram account which reposts hundreds of self love endorsing photos for its followers to see. The result is something beautiful. Instead of encouraging young women and men to see their beauty no matter what they look like, she’s changing the very definition of beauty as something that has nothing to do with appearance. @i_weigh on Instagram currently stands at 803 THOUSAND followers and has had an incredibly positive response with almost no backlash or negativity.
It’s insane and criminal to have a platform and not use it for good. If you call yourself an influencer on Instagram you’re going straight to the bad place. How dare you. How dare you. What are you even influencing? ‘Drink this weight loss tea’. Fuck off.
Jamil has taken all of this a step further in calling out big names like the Kardashians in their promotion of diet drinks and appetite suppressants. Her online war against exploiting vulnerable teenagers for money is bold and unwavering. She’s not afraid to voice her opinion and tell it how it is. Her attitude to all of this makes her a much healthier follow on Instagram than any of the Kardashians.
In Summary: Why Is Jameela Jamil Such A Good Role Model?
- Anorexia survivor turned positivity activist who believes in there being a responsibility involved with having a social media platform.
- Founder of I Weigh, an online community aiming to have people measure themselves by their personality and not their weights.
- Wrote an amazing article in the most recent issue of Vogue, talking about how we need to change how we view ourselves.
- Plays Tahani al-Jamil on ‘The Good Place’, a hilarious, inclusive and politically motivated NBC comedy (Which is all available on Netflix and is extremely bingeable).
- Recognised that a love for fashion, makeup and shoes is not mutually exclusive with feminism, body positivity or being a good role model.
HRH Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex (Meghan Markle)
From Hollywood actress to British royalty, it would seem impossible to view The Duchess Of Sussex, formerly known as Meghan Markle, as anything but inspiring. Unfortunately, from her wedding to Prince Harry to the birth of their gorgeous son Archie earlier this year, she hasn’t been viewed in the way I expected her to be. British Royalists and conservatives (with a small c) did not take kindly to the American actress and, soon after the news of her engagement, the tabloids took it upon themselves to tarnish her reputation.
This response upset me particularly because their reasons for disliking her were my exact reasons for loving her. In her I see a beautiful and successful modern princess (sorry, Duchess). Everybody loves Will and Kate and their three perfect children. Prince George, aged six, already looks ready to take the throne someday. But Harry and Meghan represent the way that the Royal Family needs to be if they wish to stay relevant in a very anti-monarchy world.
Meghan introduced a lot of firsts to the royal family. She gave birth to a son of colour, and the first of the Queen’s great grandchildren to be black, even if it is just a quarter. She was also a known feminist and political activist before marrying into the family. While all royals have their causes, royals are advised to keep hush on their political views. There was a lot of concern that Meghan would be unable to do this. Her recent edit of Vogue magazine highlights her passion for feminism and powerful women even now she is a duchess. Such a change is welcome in my opinion.
The most inspiring thing about Meghan, and probably the most controversial, is her determination to be a wife and mother as she would have done had her husband not have been sixth in line to the throne. She hires her own nannies, she requested to not use the royal doctors to deliver her son as she ‘didn’t want old men in suits delivering her baby’. She didn’t pose on the steps of the Lindo Wing hours after giving birth. I mean no disrespect to Kate when I say this, but if you don’t want to spend the first few hours with your newborn in hair and makeup then I don’t see how anyone can complain about that. She actually announced his birth the way most modern mothers would, on Instagram.
She is most inspiring to me, because she has not given up her beliefs and general routines as a woman just because the institution she has married into expects her to change. The Royal Family are changing with the times but they are still behind and Meghan refuses to conform to their outdated expectations. More royals should be just like her and Harry.
In Summary: Why Is Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex Such A Good Role Model?
- She is an amazing political activist and feminist, and spent much of her time as an actress using her platform for good.
- She pushes the boundaries when it comes to royal expectations without disrespecting the people in the family or their traditions.
- She is rocking it as a modern wife and mother, doing what is best for her and her son.
- She guest edited Vogue Magazine and used it to showcase not herself but several amazing influential women.
- She is rocking her unconventionally royal dresses to reveal her gorgeous dark skin because that was her style before and nothing should be able to change who you are, not even marrying a prince.
Where does one even start with Michelle Obama? How did a black lawyer from Chicago become the First Lady Of The US? How did she campaign for her husbands presidency while raising two amazing and strong daughters? How does she do it all?
When I read an autobiography of a woman I have looked up to for years, I always finish it in less than three days. Becoming, by Michelle Obama, was no different. Split into three sections of her life, the book detailed what it was like growing up on the top floor of a small house in Chicago, going to law school, meeting fellow lawyer Barack Obama, marrying him, having two daughters, becoming a senators wife and becoming the First Lady.
If she really wanted to, she could easily convince the world she had done it all effortlessly. Michelle Obama is basically superwoman in the eyes of many people, especially the young women that look up to her. Instead she tells a far more revealing tale of how she struggled through it all. How she didn’t ask to be a politician’s wife let alone the most important one of all. She didn’t want Barack to be the president, she hated him being away from his young family while serving as senator and she often resented his drive and determination.
Sometimes, what women need is not a superwoman, but a real woman. Knowing that the wife of the first black president, the gorgeous mum of two who cares about all the right issues was still concerned about what time her husband came home for tea and having children and normal domestic issues is somewhat of a comfort. Michelle Obama is every single woman who wants to balance their love for themselves with the love for their husband or wife. She teaches you that you don’t have to be above it all to be successful.
One of the most inspiring things about Obama is what she did earlier on in life, before anyone knew her name. She followed a path that is all too familiar to lots of people. She chose what she should do rather than what she wanted to do. And then she gave it up because it was not giving her any happiness.