“You don’t patronise women, you don’t condescend to them: you tell us what we want and need to know.”
Jameela Jamil is, without a doubt, one of our absolute favourite people. Not only is she a brilliant actress (her starring role as Tahani al-Jamil in Mike Schur’s The Good Place has received critical acclaim), but she is also funny, incredibly down-to-earth and a truly inspiring force of nature, too.
Better still, though, is the fact that she has made a point of using her position in the spotlight to speak out on feminist issues. Over the past 12 months, we have seen her call out sexist stereotypes and rally against the body-shaming expectations placed upon women by the media.
So, when it came to naming our Woman of the Year, the answer was pretty obvious.
Presenting the award at Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards event in London, editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski described Jamil as “the true definition of a woman’s woman”. Going on to praise the actress as “our champion, our mentor, our cheerleader, our best friend, all rolled into one”, Smosarski thanked Jamil for remaining a true ‘feminist-in-training’ and for championing women across the globe.
And Jamil, in a filmed acceptance speech, responded in kind.
“Hello Stylist, thank you so much for this amazing award,” she said. “It’s such a privilege and I’m so gutted that I can’t be there to accept it, but I’m stuck working in America. I would definitely rather be there with you.”
Jamil continued: “It’s been so incredible to have your support overt the past year, even though I’ve been such a wild loose cannon. Thank you for always having my back and making me feel supported and encouraged when I speak up when I speak out.
“Women in my position and women in all industries are told not to do that, and not to be unlikeable, or difficult, or problematic in any way. We are told not to tell the truth, and you give a voice to those of us that do. You make it seem like something cool to do. [Stylist is] so empowering and you are such an important presence in this industry. You don’t patronise women, you don’t condescend to them: you tell us what we want and need to know.
“I wish you’d been around when I was younger, that would have really helped, but at least you’re here now. I’m so grateful and proud to be aligned with you.”
Jamil finished by saying: “Thank you for giving me this great honour tonight and thank you to everyone in the room who I can’t be there with, for all of the work that you do.
“May we keep encouraging women to tell the truth and not take no for an answer.”
Congratulations once again to Jameela Jamil, our very worthy Woman of the Year 2019. To follow all of the action from the 2019 Remarkable Women Awards, check out Stylist’s live blog here.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
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