You’re probably aware by now that we’re celebrating Stylist’s 10th birthday this year by handing 10 issues over to 10 different guest editors. So far, we’ve handed over the reins to the brilliant Brie Larson, Adwoa Aboah, Lily Allen and Caitlin Moran.
Now, to mark halfway through our celebratory year, we’ve welcomed actress, activist and @i_weigh founder Jameela Jamil to take on the role of editor for a week, and as someone unafraid to shy away from difficult conversations, she’s made sure her Stylist guest edit is no different.
Jameela’s issue is guaranteed to give you plenty of food for thought. It’s a magazine full of opinions, voices and debate, including first person pieces from the likes of Scarlett Curtis, Munroe Bergdorf and Cathy Rentzenbrink, which take on the weighty topics of privilege, transgender rights, and grief. There’s also an extremely powerful essay by Jameela herself, written to her inner-bully – a truly inspirational and remarkable read.
“I wanted to make this issue about ‘difficult conversations’, the societal dialogues we sometimes shy away from,” says Jameela, explaining the approach behind her guest edit.
“Both myself and the writers I chose for this issue are pulling no punches with our hard truths. It is pivotal that those of us in pain are not silenced and are able to share our grief in order for allies to step in and stand with us in our fight for equality,” she adds.
“A special shout out to all my brilliant collaborators in this issue, who are all voices I love and have learned so much from and I hope you do too.”
Besides the focus on difficult conversations, Jameela had one more mission in mind when it came to tackling her issue – and it came from her experiences as a young girl.
“For this issue, I wanted to create my very own magazine utopia, dedicated to all the things I needed to see and hear when I was younger,” she explains. “I grew up in the era of ‘heroin chic’ where the ideal of beauty was to look like an addict who never ate… Diversity and representation were not a priority, in fact they were seldom even discussed. Whitewashing was just the norm.
“Women’s magazines never challenged or informed us in their articles, we were just fed fluff that almost always carried subliminal messaging about how to be more attractive towards the patriarchal gaze, in both looks and behaviour,” she adds. “Diet culture was on an aggressive rampage, using fat shaming, Photoshop and erasure of all curves to pressure us into buying dodgy quick-fix slimming products. This all FUCKED ME UP as a young person – and I didn’t grow up with social media.”
Jameela’s Stylist issue is therefore a response to the lack of diversity she saw in the media growing up – an attempt to provide the things she believes all young women should see and hear. The issue’s interview with ‘anti-it girl’ Celeste Barber is one such example, an example of someone who, like Jameela, isn’t afraid to challenge and confront the status quo.
“Now more than ever we need to see un-retouched photographs, we need to see ethnicities, we need to see diversity and we need to have real, honest conversations,” she argues. “We are smart, we are strong, we are resilient and we are goddamn tired of being bullied and lied to.”
You got that right, Jameela.
Images: Getty/Sally Brick
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.