Jameela Jamil thinks lockdown has made her ‘hopefully a less problematic person’

Jameela Jamil

Jameela Jamil said she’s grateful for lockdown affording her the time to educate herself, and to work towards becoming a “less problematic, less ignorant person”.

The actor and activist spoke candidly to trans icon Munroe Bergdorf for Grazia magazine about how the pandemic has changed her.

Jamil said she has used the downtime to reflect after a busy “last couple of years”.

“I haven’t had time to learn and I think that contributed to a lot of the mistakes I’ve made,” she said.

“This has given me space to really investigate, learn, read and educate myself.

“I was so busy (before), I didn’t have time to really know what I was talking about all the time and I feel very grateful for this pause in being able to, hopefully, become a less problematic, less ignorant person.”

Jameela Jamil on the cover of Grazia, on sale Tuesday June 30. (Grazia/Josh Stadlen following social distancing guidelines)

Jameela Jamil says ‘no one believes she would genuinely want to help’.

Jameela Jamil, founder of the I Weigh movement and podcast, said she hopes to reemerge a “more calm, thoughtful and careful person, more aware of the damage of having a 280-character Twitter word count”.

“It’s understandable for the public to not trust powerful people, so I’ve always known that everyone has always read the most evil possible intention into my every move, they always think I’m manipulative or I have an ulterior motive,” she said.

“No one can believe that I would genuinely just want to try and help.”

She paid tribute to Black Lives Matter protesters, saying that “it’s very important that we don’t allow this to be a quick trend”.

“One thing that’s been amazing is that the voices who weren’t heard before are now being heard en masse,” she said.

“The fact that great educators, thinkers and writers from marginalised backgrounds are now at least being given these high jobs, and executives are being fired for their racism, we are getting rid of the rot and we’re bringing in new representative talent. I think that in itself is going to create systemic, prolonged change, but I think it’s also about maintaining holding people accountable.”

Jameela Jamil

Jameela Jamil spoke about activism in the era of Black Lives Matter and Me Too. (Grazia/Josh Stadlen following social distancing guidelines)

In June, Jamil came out swinging for trans rights after reports suggested the UK government was planning to bin proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and instead introduce “new protections” for women’s single-sex spaces, which would attempt to prevent trans women using many public facilities including toilets and changing rooms.

“Trans rights are human rights,” Jamil tweeted June 15.

“I would have any trans woman in my protected spaces as they need protection more than anyone.

“They are in the most danger in our society. They are us. They are our sisters. Boris Johnson, this plan to push them out is #NotInMyName.”

When asked by Bergdorf what advice she would give to those looking to find their voice and allyship, Jamil said: “It’s OK if you can’t be out on the street holding a placard. But therefore you should make sure that you are doing the work online.

“That’s not just liking and retweeting – you have to be signing petitions, calling your mayor, calling your governor, calling the politicians in your borough. Make sure you act on whatever change needs to happen. It’s not about getting that Instagram shot.”