Exclusive: Jameela Jamil on the joys of not caring what people think

Posted by for People

Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. Mutual fans and fellow guest editors, Roxane Gay asked us to put our existential questions to actor and activist Jameela Jamil

What is the meaning of life?

Cake, laughter and orgasms.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

They are both subjective. All I do know is that it’s OK to be wrong, as long as you are constantly searching for a path to being right. Basically, don’t be a dick about it and just shut up and read.

Where is your happy place?

Lying in the nook of my boyfriend’s arms, sharing snacks and watching a boxset. Sorry, I am a quintessential basic bitch.

Nature or nurture?

Nurture. Nature is the excuse our nurturers use when they have failed us.

Is it more important to be liked or respected?

Neither. I’m just interested in getting shit done. I’m not interested in other people’s opinions of me. It’s none of my business. I don’t need a pat on the back any more. That’s the most glorious thing about turning 30, bleeding out all the fucks I had to give. I just took a DNA test and it turns out I am 100% fuckless.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

That I have farted in the presence of every single one of my idols. 

Who or what is your greatest love?

Cheese. I fucking love cheese. (Thus the farts, no doubt.)

When did you last lie?

When I said that my abortion was the best decision I’ve ever made – cutting a fringe was, in fact, the best decision I’ve ever made. Abortion came second.

Does the supernatural exist?

I really, really hope the supernatural doesn’t exist. I really passionately don’t want that. I’m just a wimp. I’m Scooby Doo with tits.

Are you fatalistic?

No. I am steering my own ship.

What is your greatest fear?

Bees. And rape. 

Animals or babies?


What talent do you yearn for?

God, I wish I could dance. I move like a drunk Teletubby. I have literally never, ever pulled in a club.

Do you like to be complimented?

No. I’m British. Of course not. Are you drunk?

What book do you recommend most to others?

Yes Man by Danny Wallace. It changed my life. After reading it, I started following in the protagonist’s footsteps and started saying yes to everything (apart from anal) and I found a whole new side of life and myself.

Jameela discovered a new side to herself after reading Yes Man.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

Yes. I’m a woman.

What food sums up happiness?

Hot, freshly baked sourdough with butter. Unbeatable. Death row meal.

What have you never understood?

Escape rooms. Just… why?

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

You can’t fix everyone. You sometimes have to let people sit in their own shit for a while and pull themselves out, and then you can step in and support them.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

What the point of reverse cowgirl is. And how on earth anyone manages to do it. 

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

I’m not at all afraid of dying, I just really don’t want it to be one of those mid-wank deaths. So awkward for loved ones at the funeral. I don’t believe in an afterlife, or at least I hope there isn’t one… because otherwise I am completely fucked.

Quinoa or Quavers?

Quavers, obviously. I’m not an animal. I actually can’t believe you even ask this question.

Actor and activist Jameela Jamil is the founder of the I Weigh community, join the conversation @i_weigh.

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive a free guide to the 101 Female Authors Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Photography: Martin Schoeller, Instagram

Share this article

Recommended by Jameela Jamil