Jameela Jamil | On Adversity, Celebrity and Activism [BEST OF]


My guest today. Jamila mill was a household name in the uk for years hosting shows on t. four bc one before launching into the spotlight in the us plane to hani on the acclaimed tv. Show the good place and then hosting. Tbs late night game show. The misery index judging reality competition show legendary an along the way she has been incredibly intentional about leveraging her notoriety for social good launching the advocacy platform. I way and the podcast of the same name. And she's on quest really bring together an amplify the voices of change makers and promote equity and dignity and for her. It's also personal. Growing up the daughter of indian and pakistani parents. She was often bullied and experience. May tougher after being diagnosed with a condition that affects her body's connective tissue and often causes chronic pain and through her teens she endured even more trauma became anorexic and then at a car accident that caused a spinal injury that would profoundly change her relationship with her body and finding her way eventually into the world of tv and radio in the uk. She headed to the us at first to right but found herself in front of the camera performing on set with her childhood. Heroes on network tv but it was her decision to speak truth to power and become an advocate for equality inclusivity and self determination that has really become the center of who jamila is and how she shows up in the world a place she describes as being post. Shame so excited to share this best of conversation with you and before we dive into it. I also want to take a moment to share some super exciting news. So my new book sparked is now available for preorder. This is really the culmination of more than two decades of work getting to the heart of what makes us come alive in work and life. It'll help you understand. Maybe in a way that you never truly have been able to see or embrace those deeper drivers for work that fill with meaning and joy and excitement and purpose and probably equally important it reveals. What work empties. Your soul takes. the greatest. emotional toll requires the greatest recovery and equips. You don't understand on an entirely different level. How to better re imagine and reinvent this next season of work in life to chewy maybe for the first time ever come more fully alive and there are some super cool immediate bonuses when you reorder so go check out the link in our show notes to grab your copy of a sparked from your favorite bookseller today. Okay onto our conversation on jonathan fields and this is good life. Project project is supported by upstart. 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In pakistan and spain in my most formative early is and then we kind of settled in london fully fully. After i was about probably eight years old so i was all over the place back and forth. We basically went wherever the pound was strongest. God it's not not military though. Is it like a business type of thing for for two years or parents or something or no no naturally just getting out any money so we would go wherever the pound was strongest and so sometimes it really depended on the the economy of different countries. And that's why we would live especially at relatives that we end up ways because we can pay so for the first couple of years. I moved around a lot and then somewhere between about six and i already kind of settled back into england and going to school here and i grew up in so all over london really again depended on rent dependent on when bailiffs through our houses yet. Did you have a sense that i mean. Even when you're a little kid did you have that sense of. That's really what was going on or is it only in hindsight. No i definitely news very Very close knit family. And you know. I think especially when you're in a single parent household. There isn't much space fuel mother to lie to you about what's going on or who the man at the door who taken the television and so you know i think i had a very possible understanding about economic situation very young. But you know. I wasn't starving or anything wasn't completely homeless. I lived in a time in england where we really took care of those who would disadvantage compared to now we used to and it wasn't a stigmatized if there was a single mother who looking off to two kids who couldn't manage to work fulltime as well as the cough to those two children than we would help find housing and we would help her have an income that was possible for her family to live off and so i feel incredibly fortunate. We will cease to help kids with school fees so i was able to assisted places as what we used to call them which is similar to scholarship a disadvantaged children. You know so. I had a sense of it but i also felt very taken care of by my government in a way that i don't think it'll children can relate to nowadays. It was the celtics the lost of the radio. Good side of i guess it was. They were the last really good days for those of us to already taking a beating from life. Yeah and i mean. I know Kit there was a lot to take care of. I mean there was a lot going on and also it sounds like from the earliest days you've dealt with struggles with everything from hearing loss to health issues alerts and lows when you were a kid also Sutin know that there was someone or something or some safety. Net was in some way shape or form going to help you be. Okay really. don't know how americans without a national health service to. I think that's one of the number one things i feel so grateful in my child is is free. Doctors nurses growing up as a chronically sick child with those older mentally ill people in my family. We'd all be dead without the national health service. There was no way we would have been able to afford insurance or copay is in all these different things. I believe the the state of the healthcare in this country. And i i love america but so many of the homeless people that you see these these people who just all drug addicts Fuck ups these are people who often got sick or a family member goes second. They were crushed by that that medical bills. And that's what led them to lose the house and therefore their job end and everything else and so the national health service is how i survived an and i really rarely done what i would have done without them again. It was a bad time. And also you know. I had a as a child so we would make. We would give parents extra support if you had a child with a disability. This is something that's again being rolled back in britain. Right now yeah. I'm curious did you. I mean obviously as you as you got older and you know especially in the recent Probably the last decade or so really strong sense of service to bigger society especially to those who are in some way disenfranchise or. Don't have a sense of power. Do you feel like that early experience with you in any way planted the seeds for this sort of like orientated. With you yeah. of course. i definitely don't do this for fun. It's not fun Putting myself in the firing line with society. Meteors is not a decision that one takes lightly. It doesn't make your existence. Glamorous it doesn't make you sleep better. You don't unwell money you definitely earn significantly less money. over zoom so a fine and living in privilege but this is a. It's the only reason to be this. Relentlessly annoying publicly is because i grew up knowing what it was like to be on the other side of this and to be a victim of the pitfalls society and our narratives. That's why now the. I have a position of power which i was told. I would never ever reach because i was born into. I feel such a strong sense. If dt to to allow people to a cool to arms to identify the poison in our culture and push back against it that makes sense. Yeah no it absolutely does What's interesting also is of the things that you struggled with or lived with as as a young kid. One of them was a certain amount of congenital hearing loss if correctly so which i guess to a certain extent remains to this day. Yeah a friend of mine. He may know also. She's lived out there Jennifer passed off. I've had yet. She began to lose your hearing and she found that it made her hyper attentive to those around her because she had to really. She was lip she. She didn't study to relive she. Just learn that's the way that she needed and she needs to pay intense attention and it created almost this zone of connection with people around her that she felt while hearing loss. is something that didn't which warns he struggled with that. Capacity to be hyper present with people has been something that she really treasure. Yeah i think it made it kind of came in two different forms of me. I became hyper observant. Because you have to learn how to reach people for than just that words which can be incredibly valuable later on especially if you find yourself in a snake bit like this industry that i'm in a very rarely people's was match their intentions. You can actually read someone like an mri almost but also it made me quite sterry person so a staff lonsdale and that makes me seem creepy. Come freaks people out. It's a it's been hit. And miss. But i definitely wouldn't go back and change the time because of how it shaped me and how much it made me extra appreciative of music. And how comfortable it made me in silence. And how. Much more thoughtful. I think it made me. Because i still miss that. A lot of children that have access to because of the chaos of pt Getting older so i very tranquil. I grew up in a chaotic household. An ida very turn coexistence within the because any so much chaos. You can access when he caught here. I know when you hit your eighteen seventeen or something like that The i guess up until then also at some point Social anxiety anorexia becomes a part of your existence well-served layering on top of everything else. That you your served dealing with cool being a gun in the nineties. I don't know if any of us escaped without anxiety in some sort of eating disorder. Behavior mine was daphne extreme but not really more so than the other girls in my school. Everyone had a problem with eddie image though Next to go go to bring in a weighing scale every day and she would stand on it while eating lunch to see if not the dial will go up and that would stop her from overindulging. So you know i yes. I definitely struggled severely with anorexia but also really not in any way that stood out. I wasn't much thinner than the other. Gaza we all trying to have jutting hipbones in jutting rips because we were told that that was what was the only standard of beauty and the only standard of worthiness a woman was to to be a small and childlike in your frame as possible. Yeah i mean and also we're talking about the the. I guess late nineties here so that was the time in fashion. Were quote heroin. She comes from right which is out on reflecting on that. How does that become the standard. So s.'s like those and it was also a time while we were learning for the first time truly very publicly mainstream media about actual famine. That was going on in the world countries. So the idea that over in the west where we had access to abundant that we were trying to emulate the look of famine that was genuinely currently happening to tens of millions of people around the world. Is so mortifying when you think about it that it's hard to swallow. Yeah it's strange. The way that people can be influenced So powerful that. I mean which kind of fascinating about about what you're sharing to is at so Rigging bounce around a little bit towards last year you end up on the cover. British vogue with extensively. Sixteen women ashley fifteen women and that a little slot which is for mirror so the person looking at it feels that they have a space there to the photographer. That was chosen for that. Peter lindbergh whose legendary in the space and also legendary in an interesting way in that he always he was somebody who actually hated makeup on women. He absolutely hit. You wanted nothing to do with airbrushing back in the day or photoshop now and yet in the nineties he was also one of the people who was sorta like photographing a lot of the people who sort of set the standard for what was to be the pinnacle of beauty. Then i think so is everyone. He would have been in his twenties and that that will sanders. I mean twinkie. In a david bailey discovered twiggy. So we will have a slight bend. Pick a I think she's be to none of have felt but the well rounded her aesthetic as the only singular beauty standard. But i think young photographers back. Then we'll we'll just graphing what was in front of them and that was emaciated goals and what liked about working with peter is again. He wouldn't let me wearing makeup. Wouldn't brush it seven. Am because i jet lag at four am in my time. And i felt like i had testicles really underneath my eyes on he loved that and he was like great was bring out spring out those testicles and shot me in eight day brushing covering evoke nobody of And i loved it already liberating. And he got me to wear pajamas rather than anything kind of structured and fancy. And i will always remember him and his work fondly but yeah i mean. He was definitely part of Every at everyone in that time was complicit in a culture that they thought was acceptable and they thought it was beautiful. I mean we wouldn't. It becomes normalized on that level. It's just sort of like this is the way it's supposed to be across everybody and can imagine what it would take to really just stand out and say and say no effectively. You would have to be willing to walk away from your career. Which is which we now see a lot of people doing in on a different level or not. I didn't have a career because i was not a successful teen model. I didn't make it as a teenager. I started and i went costings and everything. But i was also trying to juggle school at the same time and south asian and there would just no south asian models at the time so it was definitely difficult to break through in that moment and then i got hit by a car pulled out the modeling industry. Thank god otherwise. I'd probably be dead now but On very very very very happy. That i was not successful during that time because like considering how badly. I've already messed up from my hooligans from eating disorder behavior during that time a Imagine what would have happened. If i was also smoking taking cocaine and and maintaining mac asian for as long as it would take to be successful modeling career. Yeah i knew you described the The car accident in in a weird way. Almost a blessing Something that ended up to a spinal cord injury and and pretty much took you out of being involved in people outside of your your home for better part of a year. maybe longer i was bed bound benches. It wasn't that bad. I had a really strong painkillers and cable tv so while i would never undermine the experiences someone else damaging that i actually found that to be quite a good year i had a morphine drip Of living my best life eating ice cream off my face watching frazier. So i have. I've terribly pull memories of that time by very vivid memories of that time. Because i used to watch television day and night because i didn't really happening friends In my family. Were not in social moment so i was alone most as all day every day pretty much other than when i would need to go to the toilet and so i would watch television compulsively and i think a lot of learned came from. Tv's for better or worse. Island tattoo identify mental illness. Watching oprah and island comedy from friends and frazier and Sista sista. And i learned i guess. Probably have to host just via osmosis. Because i went. I stumbled into the entertainment. Industry will was just sort of instinctively known what to do and how to carry myself without any Any kind of media training any kind of acting school anything like that. I have just always had an instinct for how to perform on camera which must come from just compulsive addictive television watching. I just knew what to do to bit like the king of comedy rupa puck project is supported by ever lane seven thinking about how i love to go on adventures. But i think what's really underrated is creating these sort of everyday micro adventures and that is wherever laying can really come in whether you're exploring new world in the pages of a booker venturing out on a gentle trail in the local park with a friend ever has these premium essentials outfit you in comfort. I've been a huge fan of ever lane for years now there. This really cool company that makes stylish quality clothing with total transparency about their production process and costs. I pretty much live in their jeans and t-shirts though the perfect blend of comfort and conscience and right now. They've got everything you need to upgrade. Not just the look as we wrap up summer but also the way that you feel in your clothes ever got the timeless classics. You need to look and feel great while doing it. Go do ever lane dot com slash. Good life and sign up for ten percent off your first order plus free shipping and get easy returns within thirty days of your ship date. That's ten percent off your first order when you go to ever lane dot com slash. Good life or just click the link in the show notes and sign up presents the new original series nine perfect strangers based on the new york times bestseller. Nine perfect strangers takes place at tranquillo as the healing begins. The guests began to doubt the retreat unconventional methods including a mega dose of reality through the controversial world of microdosing secretly administered via the guests. Daily smoothies nicole. Kidman stars was masha. That enigmatic leader of the resort and melissa mccarthy co-stars francis a dominant her luck novelists in need of some rejuvenation. Watch nine perfect strangers. Now on hulu with new episodes every wednesday. So you go from there to I guess you taught english for a year or something about two. And then you land you end up replacing alexa chung on t four. No experience. Basically walking and saying okay. I'm i'm here. I mean interesting in that you just shared. It wasn't like you something you trained to do. You didn't aspire to be in entertainment from the time you're a kid yet. Felt oddly comfortable. It sounds like from the earliest time. Also i felt the entertainment industry was really vacuous. And because of how. I'd seen how much it damaged my own self esteem. And how we raise. South asians just people of color. In general i never had an interest in the entertainment industry like beyond my teens. And so i really didn't expect it but then i found out that the payment was thousand pounds a day and that teacher makes it a month and i went to the open cool and somehow just delivered in addition i was up against the entire country but i a i think had the confidence to someone who thinks this is such a long show. I'll never make it so. I might as well just relax and enjoy it which ultimately always helps perform better at the same thing happened with the place vision but i just i don't know why but i just knew exactly what to do and that must have just been from subliminally studying television during my car. Accident is Shit faced it somehow. Bypassed all of this just went straight into muscle memory See started in front of a screen not long after that. You end up At bbc one hosting a show. Which from what i know and you can tell his right or not So the official chart was never hosted by long before it was you know been on after sixty years and they'd never let women take the ranks very authoritative shows. The bill booed wonder in. You are the you are. There is the authority to hand the number one over the over to the autism. Some reason it was just never given to a woman and was very lucky to be made that first woman and so i got to make history at twenty six which was very unexpected and a lot of pressure but An experience. I enjoyed very much. Took a minute to find my feet because again similarly to tv. I hadn't trained. I haven't done student. Radio hadn't gone to school associated sixteen so thrown right in the dependent figure out swim. The took a minute but eventually went really well in the ratings. Good and i will always Defining moment mike career because it was the first time in my four on television at that time where it wasn't about how i looked at it wasn't about my skirts my fashion and my legs. I was totally decentralized. And i was able to learn how to entertain people just with my mind just with my voice and it's a difficult job. You have to drive the desk. So you have the whole of the bbc at your fingertips and do you all controlling every single sound. That people can here at the same time as telling his story while timer is counting down. And you have to puff Timer new live. So there's no arafah any mistakes and it turned you into a less of conscious and a better host a maybe person cause you become less contrived as an individual. Yeah i mean it's interesting because you're so you're than a career where it is one hundred percent about your voice and a hundred percent about Your ability to relate to people with nothing but the sound of your voice coming straight into their ears you no not at all but i mean the difference between what what i do. What you were doing was the real time nature of it which is profoundly different. You know we're sitting here. I'm in my studio new york. Urine your place in la and we're making this happen and we can touch up anything that happens later. Somebody stumbles or fumbles wants to refrain. They can but when. You're on the mike and you're live and you know potentially millions of people are listening to you and you know the it's really fascinating training in being just absolutely present in the moment and having to like it forces you to let go of whatever you thought. You should have or shouldn't have said three ago because you can't stay there you have to be like whatever the second is right then. I think you can do anything off to done anything with entertainment. You can't go and do brain sadr child but you can. You can do anything within. This industry wants to found. Live radio where you are the controller as well as the host it's terrifying. It is terrifying. But it's exhilarating. You can't sleep and to look for. Am because you'll still buzzing every single we can have a whereas off because it's a huge risk. Entire reputation is on the line every time the red light that says on air comes on an on. My tv host was mostly live as well by the way at twenty two jumped into the industry. They put me straight on. Live television by myself. Like five am so. I've only ever really know live until now which is why acting felt ready. Fucking strange to me. All the ticks and this adds the god so it was almost too much room for era. I think i made more mistakes. Because i had too much room for mistakes. That's interesting it's almost like you had the luxury you know that you can. Yeah so you do. And humans have capacity to other think it's one of our most of stifling habits dominant trait for most people. I think Run the same time. You're also writing for company magazine Was writing something that was following you from an earlier time or was it early early emerging interest or just something that you have in a fall into again fell into. I've got the most charmless career trajectory that has ever happened. And i didn't even shock anyone to get. Why have i didn't even do that. Work you know what i mean. I didn't even know hun jobs whatsoever. I was interested. Actually i think i would have been the only person to ever fucked that way down industry. 'cause no it's not my greatest skill aside but i just i have somehow maybe it's the universe is way for making up for what shitty start i had but i've somehow just been at the right place at the right time consistently for over a decade in a way that mesmerizes may. I'm baffled by it. But because i had this big shiny new job and because i was being noticed from my fashion sense at twenty two twenty three as is often the case with a young new emerging iskoe was. I was asked if i would write a fashion column and after writing my first two. I realized i didn't really care about fashion at that time. It didn't know what i was talking about. I'd never had money until now. So i'd never grown up with like a pedigree in understanding fashion. I just thought it was amazed coveted. So he doesn't get arrested. So i asked them if i could stop branching out into something outside of that i would actually find interesting and i found social commentary to be my strength so i stay. They allowed me after reading my samples and it turned within a couple of weeks. A couple of months from fashion bloke into just a by hall take on our society and it grew over the course of eight years and became a real love of mine but i found that purely by accident. Yeah i mean at this. So you're you're developing of voice. A place to the bbc's is satisfying one particular need for expression tv before that was satisfying different need writing with satisfying a different kind of all blended together to create different outlets for different parts of yourself and you're also gaining a tremendous amount of exposure across the uk. Then you become very noticeable. I'm even though you're primarily on the bbc. You're still very forward facing and very visually identifiable there. And i know you have shared new and you've written about Some around the age of twenty six. Which i guess was right around then you also started to really struggle described it as having a breakdown and a suicide attempt what came together in that sort of like season for you. That led you to that place. I think a lot of people find as they start to reach thirty that old trauma that they've buried starts to surface. Whether or not you like it. I don't know if that's because that's when we really become adults and that's when we really starting to shake guide to become i think it's a ridiculous fallacy. The idea that we are adult from eighteen onwards. No one has shaped a eighteen or twenty or twenty-five even i really think attorney as you start to approach authorities. Start to understand who you are. What your place in the world based on what you plan to do going onwards so all of my old shape. That ida was buried under jokes and performance sosa playfulness. Sunday couldn't hide from anymore and so the combination of that. I'm being way too famous for someone who so introverted. And someone who is not built for fame. because i'm an unfiltered and unusual women. I think having paparazzi outside my house will day every day photographing me. Speculating over my white speculating of my love. Life speculating of my existence. Stalking me on every single wolf guy with go to having these bizarre narratives constructed around who i am and what. I stand fooled by the media. It will just sort of melted me down the combination of actual mental illness. That i've been running from my anti life and the media giving me no the media but society giving me nice spice to grow because once you're in the public eye become held kind of accountable as if you awesome sorts of pathak termination saint and so i just cracked. I guess at twenty six and a had a full-on explosive nervous breakdown. That no one else publicly. Because i didn't leave my house other than to run into a cab and go do my radio show and come back but my whole life at apart. And it's you know. I also wasn't very well physically at the time and i have i listen. Listen during which very painful and relentless condition that you're born with any degenerates with age and so when you wake up pain every single day and you go to bed every night and pain and none of your organs work properly because it affects every single sat in your body and you'll swollen all the time At really unpredictable inconvenient moments for job that is very much so forward-facing and where you're in the spotlight and being scrutinized of how you look you just sometimes kant take it anymore and so i gave up but thankfully i fail and suicide was not something. I turned out to have a talent for. It attempted it twice in my life and and not been successful by times. And so. I decided that. If i'm going to carry on in this world then i'm going to have to address everything that has led me to the point of collapse and go through it meticulously and study mitro an understand my patten's and map my way out of what was essentially insanity loss kind of eight years of my life has been just a an experiment where i've used myself a crash test dummy to try anything other than hard drugs and anal. That will help me figure out. Who at lamb. When i'm not trying to be his side he wants to be the a hyper rebellious behavior in the last couple of years down it. It's interesting that frame because it's almost like a lot of what is happening. Publicly is the outward expression of your own in her quest to figure out. Who exactly am i. If not defined by the the expectations and the frames of everybody who just outside of me and the patriarchy you know who. Who am i really if you think about how early we stopped being conditioned it would have been the first time i turned on television or disney princess obvious being in my own family and my lineage and where the place that i come from means that you know we have a very specific. Coding for women's behavious so often soaked in conditioning. From as early as i could understand. And so how will women in particular Those of us who are very controlled. How will we ever supposed to work out. Who we really are when we're so busy being bombarded with who is supposed to be and i guess that's what happened to twenty six. Was that sort of lightbulb. Moment of. I have no idea who i am. I'm lost and that's why i feel so able to dispose of my life. Because i don't care about this life because i don't know this person so i can easily execute them because they don't mean anything to me because how can anyone who you don't know really mean something to you trudy. Does that make sense. Yeah no admits obsolete sense And at the same time at one gloss over the fact that you shared that With you there is. There's chronic pain. I mean it affects different people in different ways If it shows up for you and your life as as pain that's always there As dysfunction where you never quite know. What's you know how things are going to be on any given day you waking up and then functioning in a very public way means masking that which means at some point when whenever we repress something like that whether it's emotional physical pain it comes out you know some way shape or form oftentimes by illness oftentimes through at some point it needs to find a way out So it's sort of like if you're covering it if you're sort of like keeping it at bay on an everyday basis at some point it's really gonna it. It's going to show up whether it's that or whether it's just all the other things that pile in to create what was it. Put me in the interesting trap. Because in this industry you have signed insurance forms when you walk so you cover up Health problems No matter what you're doing you're wearing the heels even your ankles on the verge of delegating something and the swollen in hurting in your feet. Swelling you people with donald syndrome. Don't do very well in in very cold conditions especially joint sir or affected but you wear the mini scott in the freezing cold. You wear all the makeup. You look like the picture of healthy present as the picture of health because otherwise you're going to work as a industry in all societies fundamentally ablest so that means that later when you come out and finally open up about all these things that you've struggled with because you looked fine all along and presented as very able bodied people doubt your story and they doubt your integrity because also we don't understand the concept of invisible disability an invisible illness and chronic illnesses that if you cannot see someone like literally seven office. Essentially the new. Don't believe what is wrong with them. We have a similar attitude towards mental health. If somebody looks fine we presume they all find ever look. We've never been told to look beneath the surface so yeah that was a it was a. It's been an interesting journey for me with my health. It's almost like you know you work so hard to project an image of strength and when you finally say you know what i just this needs to come out. That actually works against you in this really bizarre way. Yeah i've just been accused of having munchhausen's let publicly on mass. So which is so hilarious ridiculous and the person who did it is just some sort of washed up journalists not a dog so not one of my dogs is a commonly if i had to defend that my boyfriend who cares for me to defend mine integrity to the public based on someone's random accusation but i guess that it highlighted an inherent ebola zoom in our society up very interesting to see how quickly people jumped on that. I think there's also some inherent like misogyny in that where it's like. A woman must be hysterical. Must be lying. Must be dishonest punitive but it it. It's very strange to be sick. And in pain for large portion of your life and then to be so globally goslett over it off the surviving so long against your will not wanting to survive both times. I've tried to commit suicide a massively. Due to of course mental illness brousseau just an inability to cope with being chronically sick. So that was very strange when that happened recently. I can't even imagine You i guess in two thousand sixteen which was as you're sort of emerging from that particular window. You have a cancer scare that knock on wood ends up being okay and yet required some surgery and part of the promise you made yourself. Is that if this comes out. Okay you're basically on a plane away from london to the us where you land in la. Yeah i'm so grateful that. I was fine so grateful to be okay. 'cause i have a lot of a lot of cancer my family and so and lost a lot of women in my family to counter and so i was so so scared that i've been wasting my life and as much as it wouldn't seem like Flipping this incredibly glamorous existence on television and getting to meet the tom hanks different people. I wasn't happy. I didn't feel fulfilled and i was very pigeonholed back in england. My love england for so many reasons. And i thank the Television industry radio industry forever. Having given me the lessons on the opportunities that i had but as a woman ua certainly stereotyped moso in england than i would say in america. You know you're not likely to have much of a career off fatty traditionally and you have to maintain a very useful very thin apparent. Tv of the new only being tv present never got into acting accommodating. And you should be quieted. Stay in your lane and not be an ever push back against the very controlling patriarchal partic- media and so you know i. I was books in and finding out that i could have lost. My life really gave me this much. Needed boost to be like okay. I'm fine so now in case the next time this happens i'm not fine. I'm gonna go in and grab life by both of its bulls and just see what happens having adventure. You give myself something to look back on on my desperate. So you end up in la But not to be in front of a screen which is why so many people end up going to la. But i to be on the other side of it like you show up. La too right and that becomes the focus for awhile and and yet not too far into your stinted la you do end up on the other side of the screen and once again just as we share it you know. It's sort of like showed up on and then showed up at the bbc without having an experience you effectively. Legend has the story behind the auditioned for The good place is ceo. It's almost the same type of thing. Never acted before given this opportunity for show with people who you're watching that year when you're seventeen these really some of the most iconic people on tv who had been there for generation or two to say. Hey can i step on set and play a major role in the show. I really i begged mike cher to reconsider when he gave me the row so i told him i didn't know i was doing and he just decided for me that. I didn't think he'd been similar with aubrey plaza. Where she wasn't necessarily an aspiring actor when he found her. But mike knows what he wants in a way that i find so admirable and he doesn't really listen to anyone else. He's a Rebel is industry. And so you know. He costs four on nuns into ensemble comedy and created a show. Unlike anything we've ever seen it was so high concept and yet it was made for mainstream network and he told an entire generation. So much with a spoonful of sugar. It was all these lessons about morality and philosophy of wrapped and dick and fought jokes. I think was just. I can't believe. I got bit part of an eye. It's similarly to my first. Mvp addition. just there's no there's no fucking way mike. Sure it's gonna give me pop miss. I've been forced to be by manages. Who basically just don't have very many south asians to send to this. Audition is four and overly toll. South asian english who. Who's a bit of an asshole. Chris basically as me and And so you know. I've been pushed. Edition was a little bit curious. About what the experience would be light. Thought it would make for funny column. Still writer of salah columnists for england. So tell them about how fucked definition front of misha then by complete accident got it and now i can say i've spent four years studying ted danson face-to-face and beyond being on set with that crew a couple of friends of surly been around and that space that the reputation the word about that set about that crew was. It was unusually kind. There was a lot of dignity onset. I'm curious whether that was your experience. Yes it was just an incredible place work and it was very very surreal to be honest. Set like that. Where you fifty. Fifty manifield directors Writers and you had all these different different people from different backgrounds. It felt like a very multicultural space. Where you felt like you could see yourself when you would look out into the crew and people who would like you and yet while i was doing it was twenty six. I think we began the me. Two times up. Movement was starting to emerge kickoff. And so i was reading these horror stories about hollywood. And these pervasive and insidious disgusting environments that women in particular having to navigate just to survive in this industry yet hero was with this comparative same man who really pushed for the women to feel empowered and an intellectually stimulated by the characters and he wrote nuanced complex interesting roles for minorities nevis entity Minority as our entire storyline. He broke every single rule and was kind and supportive and paid us all equally. And i couldn't relate to anything i was reading. I felt so grateful. Did just fundamentally changed my life. It changed my life in every single way. It gave me faith in myself. Gave me faith in. This industry gave me faith that were good allies out there like mike and i was given this platform from that show on top of being participating that i really believed in it then allowed me to have the platform to start a movement that represented believed in right to the fiber of my and so it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I probably say that show in everyone. Tell me about the movement side of things. Because so you're heading into sort of i guess is probably the last season of the good place. Two thousand eighteen issue starting instagram account. I way which extensively. It's funny. Because i've heard it described in the passes body positively. But it's really not that an never was but it feels like i'm curious because it feels like it has grown and expanded in the mission behind it has grown and expanded substantially even just in the short amount of time that it's been there and it's no longer just an instagram account. This is true movement. Yeah well look. It has the reputation of being a body positive movement because the the media will prime to if they're going to have this conversation to having it with a slender conventionally attractive woman so that they can have the compensation Her on the covers where she can fit into the kacha clothing on sample sizes. And so it's just a very convenient way. I'm so thrilled. They had the conversation with me. And this compensation was able to become mainstream. Because of that and i love that they were willing to go there and have real conversations with men not just reduce me down to conversations about my hat a my love life but it was very tricky because i was there full not intending to but was taking up space in the body positive movement which people to understand body positively as associate political movement that is for women who decides whether they are discriminated against by employers by doctors and they experience consistent mass abuse of their size and discrimination on all fronts Especially also dating so the body positively movement is that to teach women how to love bodies that the weld actively hates and it is something that is for larger women's lender people have commercialism has co-opted the positive movement as something. That is the slender women who do yoga tabs. Who love their apps and say i'm hashtag positive and look i understand the they're completely malicious intentions behind that. But it's a raise this very important socio-political movement slender women don't need body positively but we definitely still have the right to say that we struggle with body image. I certainly do so. I practice putting neutrality. And that's kind of a lot of way is it's looking outside of your body is treating. Nobody is nothing other than a vessel that carries your mind and looking at who you on the inside so The reason the movement is gold. I way is that we way ourselves not on a weighing scale in numbers but we way also based on the sum of all of our parts. So i way my relationship my financial independence the lessons i've had to learn publicly The eating disorder become all these different things. I weigh my my activism everything. I weigh the sum of all of my mother fucking pots. And i'm tired of being reduced to nothing more than inches and pounds and kilos so it started a statement against how we are made bodies but very quickly it emerged into what was generally a compensation about acceptance representation and mental health. And that's where we are at today. We have a million followers on instagram. And we have changed global policy on instagram and facebook that protects people under the age of eighteen from diet detox products and cosmetic surgery procedures that are being sold to them that on regulated and being peddled by influences you have zero morals and we are also working on several bills in the united states to try to protect teenagers and end discrimination. So it's a it's a full thing. Yeah i mean it's also it's fascinating if you Of the instagram account which is really just you know. This is one small visual representation of what's going on behind the scenes. Also it's a platform not you know it's a platform to tell so many people's different stories and you see you know the the the images the and people saying like you. If you want to say that this is how you away me let me tell you. Let me tell you like that. How much vaster. The universe of things that comprise. The value i contributed to the world are at this moment and how much they will become over time and it's this really powerful visual depiction of people proclaiming publically reclaiming. Almost that replayed up their identity. Which is it's just incredibly powerful to no matter who you are. You just sit there and you start to move through and it's emotional. I think it really moves you. I think that you have to have a pretty cold. Heart to to sort of edison's say a change doesn't need to happen and be that that. Anybody should be boxed in by a set of societal identifiers. That that tell you what smart is. What stupid is beautiful is what not you know or how anyone should behave on the planet. I think it was just important russell to take back the ownership of you know we live in this incredibly narrow minded society where only thin is beautiful. Only young is beautiful only able body beautiful. Only light skinned is beautiful. Only good place. Skin is beautiful. I just within so the the vast majority of society has been excluded from what is deemed sightly acceptable. But just doesn't make sense is just bad business. It's bad business to choose this. I mean it was very clever business to choose this completely unattainable ideal and use it as a way to say the anything. Outside of this is unacceptable You must by all of these products to fix you yourself because you are broken. And so that's the marketing strategies existed for thirty or forty years. Now adults work. But i reject it and i think that people very smart they just haven't been woken up to the correct information. You just have to help them. Identify the evil and then they can make their own better decisions. We're not talked about this stuff in school. Talked about it by parents whenever wound whenever educated on proper media literacy to understand the actual messaging of advertising and so therefore as someone who does now understand that and who's in the middle in the belly of the based i have the radi rare position to be able to with authority from the inside by the whole thing wide open which is quite fun. Fun powerful. I mean where. It's an interesting moment as we're having this conversation for you right because good place winds down this kicking up a really good big way The world is going through some really big disruption and pain. When you think about the state that we're in right now and what role you wanna play Your contributions would have moving fowler. What's really calling you right now is it. Is it something different or something. Is that a piece of a bigger puzzle. No it's way as i way we know we've turned it into this giant movement. We have a lot of laws to change. Laws take a very long time. And also the compensation mental health to be able to de-stigmatising and demystify it from the unique position of someone who's come back from the absolute brink. I feel as though i i. I'm not an expert in anything other than my own survival and i can use those techniques. I've learned to perhaps inspire someone to find their own techniques. I'm not here trying to treat anyone. I'm not know one of those trains. Tv doctors a. But i i definitely feel as though i know i think i know what i'm doing now and it's taken a bit of growth and learning on space and time but this is where i want to be. I have so much to learn from our society. And i think they could learn a lot from all the stuff i know about. Will the lies with the media and and so. I just want to work with my community on that. And that's what the podcast is won't be youtube channel on a couple of weeks it's also going to be around the concept of social justice and social education about things to do with And you know if i if i continue to persist with entertainment than it just has to be roles that i think are actually furthering conversation of some so. I'm not. I don't wanna be famous. I don't wanna be sack symbol. Don't want to be glorified faith anything that i find empty. I want to make a difference. Not because i care about my legacy. So don't give a fuck which we can tell from my twitter being such a mess But i definitely care about undoing. Some of the pain. The i was coast. When i was young because of how toxic this industry is and how much i looked up to it and how much i thought it was real and i just want to recycle selfishly. I'd like to recycle my pain into something. Good it's kind of interesting also seeing you. You mentioned video channel coming soon. The podcast launched as we have this conversation like about a month or so ago. So you're now also interesting full circle moment right because you're back behind the might your back. Yes relate back in this different mode But instead of announcing an a totally different topic you're now having these very personal Conversations with people who either have big spotlights that you know and and big voices and experiences that they wanna share or or in a role where you can share your spotlight disarray. Shannon on the wreck of other people. Therese what it's been like freebie sort of to certain extent back in that space net mode. I'm much more comfortable asking a not speaking. I noticed about your lovely. I hate being interviewed. I i much prefer finding out about others. But you know i had to somewhat over expose myself and be attention seeking in order to get to this position of power when now i can pass the mic. And so that's what i was doing when i was hoovering up a fair amount of attention. It was because i was very deliberately on the path to where. I'm at now where i no longer have to speak and i can ask. And so it's been brilliant. And i love interviewing and i think because i'm such an open book kind of affords my guest. Whoever they are space to do the same and that created some unexpectedly. Very very frank. Conversations reese witherspoon ended up crying at the end of the plo cost episode On a about her frustrations about sexism and misogyny this industry and demi levada opened up to me about so many of mental health issues. Same thing with reporter is episode is about to add soon just phenomenal childhood story of pain and suffering and abuse drama and he has turned that into and how he's done that on for him to be so generous as to take me through step by step guide to wellness and happiness in sustainability. I'm just i'm really flawed. By how well it's gone so faw until very honored to be part of these conversations and and also the interviews tend to stitch people up especially in print media and so these and even in video interviews sometimes taken have context and heavily edited in a way that is deeply unflattering and provocative and on fat in order to frame them in a narrative that suits the media to create as much outrageous possible outrageous. What sells it used to be sex sex outright cells we hyperinflated the value by putting it absolutely everywhere. So it's no longer something that is considered valuable now is outrage. And so i'm really proud to have created this space lately for people who have something very important valuable say to be allowed to come and say in context with protection and with my best interests on looking stitch anyone up. I'm just looking to have the most helpful. Compensation which i think is something that journalists no longer carry on mass very few journalists dealer interested in the bigger more interesting and help compensation they just have to succumb to walk gets the most clicks and so because of that interviews have lost their that impact. I think in a lot of print media and a lot of people are afraid to call because they have no control over how the edited. And so i think because i'm on the same side as them now. People speak to me with much more trust than they used to. When i was just a janitor is now. I'm also an actor who's also being subjected to intense scrutiny and gas lighting. I think it feels like it. Just it's a very unique position. I may not have unique access to such extraordinary people. Scientists doctors as well as dr autism and so hopefully we will continue to in this moment where people most need to talk about the mental health because that locked inside with losing loved ones and are under so much stress than using that jobs. They have no idea. They're gonna families or if they're going to be homeless soon if we can provide any semblance of comfort and entertainment and a message of the fact that you are not alone and what you're struggling you mustn't feel shamed or going through. Then i will lift on my joke. Feels like a good place for us to come full circle as well so as we sit here in this Cross country container. Good life project. If i offer up the phrase to live a good life what comes up. A good life is truly just to be happy. I i've really learned that over the course of twenty nine devastatingly jay z but mental. Health is my priority now. That is the pasta a good life money fame. Not success is not designing things. I've had all of that now. I've had everything shiny and it led me to almost taking my own life because of how empty and west it really is and so comfortable comes privileged but generally all of this shit is just meaningless. And if i may sorry to be long winded. But i do think i want to make this point. That's one thing. I think will come at this. Pandemic is that people will no longer value the bullshit that we have. I lied up until now we have been taught to worship commercialism and worship consumerism and expensive hotels and diamonds and pointlessly expensive clothes and I don't think anyone is going to be able to afford that. But i think we have finally recognized that the people that we have celebrated nas society have been all of the wrong heroes. It's been a bunch of useless fucking celebrities who have proven to be so ultimately useless in this apart for maybe three of them and we are recognizing the heroes. Were the people that we ignored all along. And so i. I am only excited for that. One outcome of this global tried today. I'm hoping that we will restore a helpful and intelligent values an recognize what is good and and i hope that we will be able to make out of this moment alive and with respect for mental health. Because that's the strongest tool. You have in this moment anything you can possibly have control over somewhat if you're lucky and so for me. Mental health is to live a good life is to be happy and to be cuddled. Really unlike spooning thank you hey before you leave if you love this episode. You haven't already done so be short. Follow good life project in your favourite listening and if you appreciate the work we've been doing here at good life project. police also go check out. My new book sparked. I am so excited at this is coming out into the world at a moment where i feel like we need it more than ever. It will reveal some really incredibly eye opening things to you about your very favorite subject. You then show you how to tap these insights to re imagine and re invent work as a source of meaning and purpose and joy. You'll find a link in the show notes or you can also find it at your favorite bookseller. Now thanks so much. See you next time

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