Meet Jameela Jamil - the face of our International Women’s Day campaign

Here are five things we learnt about advocacy from the face of our IWD campaign, Jameela...

Jameela Jamil: Our IWD cover star
(Image credit: Marie Claire UK)

Here are five things we learnt about advocacy from the face of our IWD campaign, Jameela...

Jameela Jamil’s name is synonymous with advocacy. The 35-year-old is known for her dedication to promoting self-worth and anti-diet activism.

While her critics would call her 'outspoken', the rest of the world would call her 'effective', with her impactful I Weigh platform mobilising real activism and introducing you to new voices, artists, activists and movements. She has changed global policies at Facebook and Instagram around diet and detox products, and is currently campaigning for two bills to reach the Senate.

The British actress, radio presenter, writer and activist is the face of The Body Shop's new campaign to promote self love and acceptance, and was therefore the obvious choice to be the face of our International Women’s Day campaign this year.

The global theme of IWD 2021 is #choosetochallenge, so we'll be encouraging our readers to take a leaf out of Jameela's book - and become change-makers themselves.

We all have voice, and we need to use it to challenge and make lasting change. After all, as Jameela told us, ‘Sometimes silence can be complicity.’

Jameela is leading the way and practising what she preaches this week, together with The Body Shop launching what they're calling a 'self love uprising' in response to the self love crisis among women identified in their Global Self Love Index.

'As a woman, being proud of yourself and believing you are enough as you are, is an act of social and political resistance,' she said of the movement.

Today, Marie Claire UK launches our Jameela Jamil Guest Edit for International Women's Day, and if you needed a dose of inspiration, this is it.

From the photographs that Jameela asked not to be retouched, insisting that she wanted people to see her as she really is, to her powerful words on being a champion for growth not perfection, this is the empowering International Women's Day Guest Edit we all needed.

Jameela Jamil's Editor's Letter

Over the next week, we'll be talking advocacy and making change, featuring bold opinion pieces, empowering interviews and fun IGTVS by game-changing female activists, handpicked by Jameela. Not to mention, we will be shining a spotlight on the global Gen Z future-shapers to watch in 2021.

Jameela will be guest editing Munroe Bergdorf's thoughts on social media activism, Catherine Bohart's powerful words on mental health and a lot of feminist book recommendations from the one and only Caitlin Moran. Plus, The Millennial Therapist Sara Kuburic will be on hand to talk you through the meaning of self-love and Jameela herself will be breaking down how we can all use our voices to make change.

Here are some key takeaways on being an advocate from Jameela Jamil's IWD Guest Edit interview…

1. Enough of us have to speak up to make change

'I get a lot of messages and private letters from very public women telling me that they are too afraid to speak up about issues because our culture is so punishing towards women. We champion a man who speaks up but we will absolutely destroy a woman for it.'

'The only advice I can give - because there's no way around the scrutiny or misogyny - is to keep going. What you can do is have therapy and build your support system before you start to speak out. And then the more of us who do it, the more hyper-normalised and easier it will become.'

2. Aim for growth, not perfection

'I hope to be someone young women look up too as an example of someone who, against all odds, continues. Who is growing and learning.'

'What I want to be in this world is an example of the fact that if I - a very un-profound, uneducated woman – can improve right in front of your eyes, anyone can. I believe in growth, I believe in progress and I want to be a champion for that. Rather than a champion for perfection.'

3. Not everyone has to approve of you

'I feel like I am the ghost of cancellations past come back to tell everyone, "It’s OK, there's life after death!"'

'It’s freeing and liberating to know officially that people disapprove of you. It’s exhausting trying to be approved of and liked by everyone. All these different individuals, with individual tastes and experiences, can't all be expected to like you at the same time, in the same way, for the same reason.'

'I cannot be arsed. Last year set me free and now I can just get on with it.'

4. It’s OK to own your successes

'I watched Shonda Rhimes stand on stage when she said women don't brag enough and that was a really powerful moment.'

'She went on to say she was the highest paid show-runner in the world. And as a fairly young, black woman stating that about herself, she got a standing ovation.'

'It’s really true - we are told to never, ever congratulate ourselves.'

5. Silence can be complicity

'I've never particularly planned on this industry - I've never planned on being famous - so I've never had anything to lose.'

'The most important thing to me is that the thing that has propped up my entire life - an eating disorder – is something I’m not complicit in. Sometimes silence, as we've learned last year, can be complicity.'

Head to our homepage and @marieclaireuk social platforms to see more of our Jameela Jamil International Women's Day campaign.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.