Jameela Jamil has a pearl of wisdom to share for anyone who has ever put everything into a plan that didn’t quite play out as expected.
Jameela Jamil isn’t just a breath of fresh air in a world of social media standards and perfectionism. She’s an unstoppable, gale force wind, whose voice on subjects like feminism, colourism and living up to ridiculous expectations, is only getting louder.
Which is why we were over the moon when she agreed to be on the cover of this week’s issue, and let us into some of her best advice on what to do when things don’t exactly go to plan.
Thanks to our endless scrolling on Instagram, we don’t think we’re alone in admitting that we can sometimes hold ourselves up to other people’s rose-tinted looking lives. Most of us have imagined certain avenues we hoped our careers or relationships would take, and can beat ourselves up if they haven’t working out like we thought.
But Jamil has some thought-provoking advice for all of us who have ever put everything into a plan that’s fallen through, as she reckons that being too “focused on the ideals we’ve been sold” is where we’re going wrong.
Speaking to Stylist’s Entertainment Director, Helen Bownass, Jamil shared this pearl of wisdom: “A piece of advice to young women reading this, or even young men, is to not be too focused on a plan, don’t be too focused on the ideals that we’ve been sold, don’t have a set idea on what you’re going to do with your life.
“Everything that ever came for me, I never wanted to be in show business, I never wanted to be an actress, all of it came in through my periphery, all of it came in through the side.”
Expanding on the pressures that many women can feel in their careers, Jamil explained that the way society pits women against each other can leave us feeling scared we’ll be replaced instead of encouraging us to go at our own pace.
“There’s a sense of ‘I’m so grateful to be here’ and I don’t know any woman who hasn’t felt this way. We’re always made to feel like there can only be one. There can be one female rapper, one big singer like either Beyonce or Rihanna. It was fine to have The Beatles and The Rolling Stones but we can only have one black woman at the top of music, one Queen,” Jamil remarks.
“It’s the same in acting, you always feel like there’s only allowed to be one token Indian in something. I remember when I was younger seeing headlines like ‘Move over Alexa Chung’ and it’s like why does she has to move over, why can’t we stand next to each other? Why can’t we be in the picture together? And here it’s like ‘Move over Priyanka Chopra’ and it’s like again, I don’t want her to move anywhere! There’s enough jobs for all of us but we’re made to feel like there isn’t, like there’s some massive cockfight where we’re just being pitted against each other unnecessarily because there are loads of jobs, more and more.”
Highlighting the fear that can come with approaching turning 30, Jamil points out that men don’t worry about this milestone as much because of an assured sense that their careers won’t have a sell by date.
She continues: “But it’s that feeling of ‘I’m only going to be here for a short amount of time’ and ‘If I turn 28 then I’m going to be too old to be alive’ and ‘If I get anything wrong I’ll be replaced’. Men don’t have that same sense, look at the longevity of their careers.
“I think that’s what makes people hide their flaws and I think that’s what makes people dishonest publicly and I think that’s why people sometimes behave irresponsibly just to gain as much money as possible but to the detriment of their fans. You know, just to make a quick buck before they get replaced by a carbon copy.”
Here’s to doing things your way and not comparing yourself to the supposed achievements of other people, Jamil style.