Jameela Jamil recalls the big lessons she learned from her “difficult childhood”

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“I am proud of my ability to withstand extreme stress and my ability to see failure as cool…”

Jameela Jamil joined Angela Scanlon on her Thanks A Million podcast this week for a fascinating chat about the loneliness epidemic, cancel culture, having a “risky” career and the importance of therapy. While there is so much to unpick from the interview, there’s one thread of conversation that really piqued our interest.  

Jamil discussed the life lessons she learned from her “difficult” childhood, and anyone who relates might just totally understand what she has to say about it. 

Explaining how her upbringing helped her maintain perspective, Jamil said: “I had such a difficult, shitty childhood. And the one thing that’s great about a difficult, shitty childhood is that it leaves you with perspective to recognise when it actually isn’t the end of the world. 

“So that has helped me survive the stupid fucking industry and stupid fucking social [media] and realise that, you know, I think human beings aren’t always amazing.”

She added: “I was so fucking abused and neglected and rejected as a child that I’m almost like lab built to be an activist… I keep going. I keep coming back, and it is truly just being able to recycle all of that pain and rejection and be able to turn it into a kind of armour that maintains my focus. [It] is one of my favourite things about myself.

“I am proud of my ability to withstand extreme stress and my ability to see failure as cool, because it means that I was willing to try when success wasn’t guaranteed.”

Jamil explained that she never expected to be liked because she felt so disliked by other children as a kid: “I was a fucking little weirdo. And that doesn’t mean I deserved to be bullied… I’m still a little weirdo, and I have great, amazing, wonderful friends… who accept me and all of my weirdness. 

“But I think growing up without thinking that you’re ever going to be accepted means that you never crave it when you’re older. I don’t crave it at all. I don’t look at fame as a popularity contest. I don’t look at activism as a popularity contest.”

You can listen to the full interview on the Thanks A Million podcast with Angela Scanlon.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…