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  • Jameela Jamil is known for her role as Tahani Al-Jamil on “The Good Place,” her activism, her I Weigh body neutrality campaign, and most recently, for viral conspiracies about her health.
  • The actress was the first solo female BBC Radio 1 presenter and worked for Premier Model Management Limited before moving to LA and auditioning for “The Good Place” after a breast cancer scare.
  • Jamil is currently the subject of viral sleuthing about whether she’s lied about various illnesses, accidents, and her work history – though her boyfriend, singer James Blake, came to her defense.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Actress Jameela Jamil was a media darling in the immediate years following her breakout role on “The Good Place,” as she campaigned for body neutrality and against eating disorder culture, starting the I Weigh campaign and landing the cover of British Vogue (the edition edited by Meghan Markle, no less).

But more recently she’s been the target of viral hate and conspiracies. Once Jamil was announced as a lead judge on the upcoming ballroom and voguing competition series “Legendary,” critics said the then-presumed straight actress with no ties to queer ball culture was a choice that reeked of LGBTQ appropriation.

Then, Jamil clarified in a poorly received statement on Twitter that she is queer. Shortly afterward, an unofficial investigation conducted by writer and producer Tracie Egan Morrissey into whether Jamil has Munchausen syndrome and has lied repeatedly about her work and medical history went viral. 

Jamil and her boyfriend, the singer James Blake, have both defended her past claims, but inconsistencies still remain, according to Morrissey’s Instagram highlight about Jamil. Here’s how the actress went from her early media career in the UK to her current status at the center of a conspiracy theory.

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Jamil grew up in London and struggled with an eating disorder as a teenager.

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Jameela Jamil starred in “The Good Place.”

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic


Her father is Indian and her mother is Pakistani. Jamil also has one brother. Growing up, she says she developed anorexia as a teenager, and struggled with it from the ages of 14 to 17.

She described her parents as “incredibly fat-phobic” in recent interviews and has a contentious relationship with them. Her mother is a former model, and Jamil told the Sunday Times that “jutting hip bones were seen as a sign of peak brilliance both at home and at school.”

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips After high school, Jamil got into modeling by working with one of the top modeling agencies in the UK.

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Jameela Jamil.

David M. Benett/Dave Benett / Getty Images for Sunglass Hut


At Queen’s College, an independent school for girls in London, Jamil says she was involved in a car accident at age 17 and lost mobility. She used a Zimmer frame to walk and has cited the recovery period as when her relationship to her body started to change.

Despite being “shy and bookish” at school, her accident led to her curtailing her educational pursuits. Instead, Jamil told the Independent in 2013, she worked for Premier Model Management as a model scout, and that the “scout” was dropped from her title over time. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Jamil was then able to start booking gigs as a presenter on UK television.

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Rachel Luna/Getty Images


While teaching English to foreign students in London, Jamil was plucked from obscurity to start presenting on British television. She appeared on the E4 show “Music Zone” in 2008 and in 2009 began hosting on the now-defunct T4 channel, replacing model Alexa Chung.

Jamil started to attend London Fashion Week and became recognizable for what the Independent described as “flamboyant” fashion.

In 2010, an archived profile of Jamil’s style from Sky described her as an ex-model who was “carving out her own niche in feminine grunge glam outfits.”

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips In early photos from her career, Jamil says she continued to struggle with body dysmorphia as a result of eating disorders.

weight loss  weightloss  weight loss programs  weight loss foods  weight loss tips Jameela Jamil attends the Burberry after party during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2010 on September 22, 2009 in London, United Kingdom.

The photo Jamil shared on Twitter, of her attending the Burberry after party during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2010 on September 22, 2009 in London.

Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage/Getty Images


Jamil recently shared a 2009 photo of herself at London Fashion Week, writing that it was a “sad day” because she was convinced she was “too fat” and would be shamed the next day.

The eating disorders and body dysmorphia – a condition in which one can’t stop thinking about perceived flaws in their appearance, regardless of whether those flaws actually exist – was a presence in Jamil’s life from her early teenage years through her 20s. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips She also says she struggled with a lot of other health problems in her early career.

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Chris Pizzello/AP Images


Aside the car accident at 17 that Jamil says damaged her spine and left her unable to walk, and her history of disordered eating, the actress says she was born with and developed additional health problems over time.

Jamil says she was born with congenital hearing loss and labyrinthitis, inflammation of the inner ear, which she had several surgeries to correct. In 2015 she said she had 70% audibility in her left ear and 50% in her right ear.

At age 9, she says she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder causing loose joints, joint pain, stretchy skin, and abnormal scar formation. After severe food allergies for years, she says she was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 12.

Amalgam teeth fillings caused her to have severe digestive issues in her early 20s, and Jamil says a dentist discovered that the fillings had been leaking mercury into her system for a decade. Following an incorrect procedure, Jamil says mercury bore holes in her digestive system and she later worked with a nutritionist to create a healthy diet.

For much of her early life, Jamil rarely ate full meals, and says her teenage diet of McDonald’s twice a week and her later diet of chicken and chips when she experienced digestive issues severely affected her mood and health. 

Jamil also says she survived a suicide attempt in 2013, has partaken in EMDR therapy to treat PTSD symptoms, and had an abortion early in her career. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Jamil moved to the US in 2016 after a breast cancer scare and ended up auditioning for “The Good Place.”

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Jameela Jamil plays Tahani on the hit show “The Good Place.”

Getty Images


Following her T4 presenting, Jamil became the first female solo BBC Radio 1 host in 2012. She also wrote a column for the women’s monthly magazine Company in the UK.

Following a breast cancer scare, Jamil moved to LA in 2016, where she was previously told she would not be able to find work in the media industry because she was “too brown.”

Her initial plans weren’t to act, but to screenwrite. But once she arrived in the US, her agent told her “Parks and Recreation” co-creator Michael Schur was looking for a British actress for a new upcoming comedy series. With no prior acting experience, Jamil auditioned and was given the role of Tahani Al-Jamil in “The Good Place” alongside Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Right away, Jamil used to her platform to advocate against the weight loss product industry and celebrities who advertised them.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images


Jamil’s first charity advocacy took place in the UK, where she once wore a chicken suit for 16 days as part of a fundraising initiative for Comic Relief. In 2015, before moving to LA, she launched “Why Not People?,” an events company dedicated to creating access for disabled individuals at live entertainment events. 

In 2018, she launched I Weigh, her most popular initiative, which is centered around an Instagram account that pictures people measuring themselves by their positive traits instead of their weight. Jamil was inspired to start I Weigh after she saw a graphic of the Kardashian sisters that measured each one by their weight. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips She’s also advocated for broader social and economic issues, like feminism, disability rights, and climate change.

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Jameela Jamil reacted to Karl Lagerfeld’s death on Twitter.

Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP and Markus Schreiber/AP


Jamil’s advocacy has led to blowback from other celebrities. She’s vocally opposed weight loss supplements advertisements, especially from the Kardashian family. Khloé Kardashian has responded to Jamil’s criticism and called her a “silly person.”

After fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died, Jamil tweeted that he was a “ruthless, fat-phobic misogynist,” leading her to clash with some of Lagerfeld’s famous collaborators, including Cara Delevingne, who reconciled with Jamil after a series of tweets.

Jamil has also called out Kim Kardashian’s body foundation, defended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from critics, slammed Victoria’s Secret in an online spat with model Sara Sampaio, and tweeted her displeasure with Cardi B promoting diet culture. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Jamil founded I Weigh as a social initiative and ended up on the cover of British Vogue.

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Jamil landed a spot on the cover of the British Vogue September edition edited by Meghan Markle.

Peter Lindbergh / Kensington Palace via Getty Images / Penguin


The actress’ social media activism has been successful in more ways than one. She has a devoted legion of fans and followers and worked with Instagram to develop an initiative to restrict posts and ads about weight loss to try and protect teen users. 

When Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle guest edited the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, she highlighted 15 inspirational women working as “forces for change” on the cover of the issue. Jamil made the top right corner. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Most recently, Jamil was announced as a lead judge on an upcoming competition series rooted in queer culture.

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Jameela Jamil has condemned airbrushing

Getty


After “The Good Place” wrapped up, Jamil pivoted back toward hosting. But her next gig landed her in immediate controversy.

The former presenter was announced as the host of an upcoming HBO competition series called “Legendary” which focuses on ballroom and voguing, two elements of queer culture rooted in the black community.

Jamil later stated that she was a lead judge, not the singular judge of the show, following criticism that she has no connection to ballroom culture. 

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Facing attacks from critics, Jamil came out as queer in a statement on Twitter.

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Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank


Jamil then posted a statement to Twitter that attacked trolls for forcing her to come out as queer, which she did, writing “It’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties.”

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 5, 2020

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips After that, a conspiracy developed by writer and producer Tracie Egan Morrissey cited inconsistencies in Jamil’s reported health history.

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Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP Images, Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP Images


Writer and producer Tracie Egan Morrissey compiled an Instagram highlight on her profile of “inconsistencies” in Jamil’s reported health history. Namely, the car accident that left her in recovery for about two years when she was 17 and what Jamil says is another car accident that happened while she was filming season 1 of “The Good Place.”

Both times, Jamil says she was running away from bees and ran into traffic. The first injury confined her to bed for a year and then another six months of recovery. The second she says didn’t involve any serious injuries. A third bee incident involving Mark Ronson was doubted by Ronson himself in a later interview. 

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 12, 2020

In 2019, Jamil also tweeted that she survived cancer twice, though the breast cancer scare that caused her to move to the US in 2016 was found to be non-cancerous, she said in other interviews. In an account Jamil shared about filming a segment with Olly Murs, she says she tripped and fell, then broke her tooth and got a concussion.

In video footage of the segment, Jamil appears to walk off the injury and return to filming, but the actress later clarified on Twitter that she was running on adrenaline.

Morrissey initially suspected that Jamil’s conflicting accounts and various illnesses like Elhers Danlos Syndrome indicated that the actress may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome, when people imagine their own fictitious disorders. 

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 14, 2020

Morrissey later clarified to Insider that “I was sort of using Munchausen colloquially as a term for someone who just lies about illnesses or is maybe a hypochondriac, and I probably misspoke about that. I don’t really know if that’s the case.”

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Jamil and Morrissey have since clashed publicly.

weight loss  weightloss  weight loss programs  weight loss foods  weight loss tips Jameela Jamil speaks onstage during WE Day UN 2019 at Barclays Center on September 25, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for WE Day )

Jameela Jamil speaks onstage during WE Day UN 2019 at Barclays Center on September 25, 2019 in New York City.

Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for WE Day


Jamil fought back against the accusations on Twitter and in private DM conversations with Morrissey, who shared them on her Patreon account behind a paywall. Jamil also cleared up some of the inconsistencies on Twitter.

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 12, 2020

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 15, 2020

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 14, 2020

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 14, 2020

And Morrissey has kept calling her out as well.

—TracieEganMorrissey (@TracieMorrissey) February 14, 2020

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Jamil’s boyfriend, the singer James Blake, has defended her.

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James Blake and Jameela Jamil attend the 2020 Grammys.

Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images


Most recently in the saga, Jamil’s boyfriend has released a statement. 

—James Blake (@jamesblake) February 14, 2020

“I am there for her swollen joints, her dislocations, her severe allergic reactions, her constant high fevers,” Blake wrote in the note. “I was there for her concussion, her 3 months of seizures, when the doctor gave her the cancer diagnosis, and for all her operations and their complications due to EDS.”

“I can feel the lumps in her back from the car accident and see all the scars,” he continued. “I am there when she turns down amazing job opportunities because of her health limitations. I actually live with her. Her being attractive, tall, and successful doesn’t mean she hasn’t been sick.”

Weight loss weightloss weight loss programs weight loss foods weight loss tips Specifically addressing a story about a swarm of bees chasing after her and Mark Ronson, Jamil then posted another statement on Twitter.

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Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Images


One story of Jamil’s that joined the conspiracy was from back when she presented for BBC Radio 1 and had set up an interview with producer Mark Ronson. Jamil told a story about a swarm of “killer bees” that descended on set and chased everyone inside.

But Ronson, during a later interview, clarified that it was “one or two bees” and said Jamil exaggerated her story. 

—Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 16, 2020

Jamil released another statement after most of the controversy had already died down, reignating the discussion over whether she lies about bees.

“Firstly, I never made the story up and thankfully producers on the set that day confirmed to me over the weekend that it happened,” Jamil wrote in the statement. 

“Either way, Mark has told me he didn’t mean to paint me as a liar, he just hadn’t remembered what happened, it had been 5 years, and maybe because he wasn’t there for the whole set up he didn’t realize what a pain in the arse the whole thing had been.”

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