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Jameela Jamil
Jameela jamil (cropped).jpg
Jamil at London Fashion Week in 2009
Born
Jameela Alia Burton-Jamil

(1986-02-25) 25 February 1986 (age 32)
London, England
NationalityBritish
Occupation
  • Presenter
  • actress
Years active2009–present
Height5 ft 10 12 in (1.79 m)[1]
Websitejameelajamil.co.uk

Jameela Alia Burton-Jamil (born 25 February 1986)[2] is a British television and radio presenter, model and actress. She has appeared on various Channel 4 programmes and was a presenter of T4 from 2009 until 2012 when T4 ended. She is a former radio host of The Official Chart, and was co-host of The Official Chart Update alongside Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1 until January 2015.[3] Since 2016, she has appeared as Tahani Al-Jamil in the American television series The Good Place.[4]

Contents

  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 Television filmography
    • 2.2 Radio
  • 3 Other ventures
    • 3.1 Activism
    • 3.2 Charity
  • 4 Personal life
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links

Early life[edit]

Jamil was born in London to an Indian father and a Pakistani mother on 25 February 1986.[5] She follows no religion and wasn't raised to follow one.[6] Jamil was born with congenital hearing loss and labyrinthitis, which she had to have several operations to correct. She states that she has "70% audibility in [her] left ear and 50% in [her] right ear" as of 2015.[7] At school, Jamil says she was "bookish and shy".[8] Her interests include art and biology.[9] As a teenager, she suffered from anorexia nervosa, not eating a full meal between the ages of 14 and 17. She has stated that she believes her eating disorder developed due to societal pressure, explaining:

At the age of 17, Jamil was struck by a car after being chased by a bee, breaking several bones and damaging her spine. She was told that she might never walk again, but after steroid treatment and physiotherapy she slowly recovered, using a Zimmer frame to start walking.[9][11] She cites the car accident as what pushed her towards recovery in that it "changed [her] relationship with [her] body" and "literally knocked some sense into [her]".[10] Jamil taught English to foreign students at the Callan School of English, Oxford Street, London;[11] she also worked as a model, photographer, and as a fashion scout for Premier Model Management Limited.[12][9][13]

Career[edit]

She appeared on the E4 show Music Zone towards the end of 2008. She began presenting T4 in 2009.[14][15] In January 2009, Alexa Chung left the morning TV show Freshly Squeezed; Jamil succeeded Chung as co-host, alongside Nick Grimshaw.[12][14][16][17] Jamil presented "The Closet", an online fashion advice show on the social networking site Bebo.[15][16][18] Created and produced by Twenty Twenty Television, it formed part of the 'Bebo Originals' commission programme.[18] Jamil was photographed for a Vogue feature on "British Editorial Class of 2010" in January of that year, by David Bailey. From 2011 to 2014 she wrote a column for Company, the women's monthly magazine.[15][19] In January 2012, Jamil replaced June Sarpong as the new host of Playing It Straight.[20]

Jamil at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con

In 2016, Jamil moved to Los Angeles with no plans of acting, but instead to DJ and work presenting radio shows. Jamil was contacted and told that Michael Schur, who co-created Parks and Recreation, was looking for a British actress for a new upcoming comedy series. Although Jamil had no prior acting experience at this point and was wary of auditioning, she was later recalled for a second interview and was called to confirm she had landed the role.[21][22][23] The show premiered in September 2016, with Jamil being a regular cast member of the NBC fantasy comedy series The Good Place, where she plays Tahani Al-Jamil.[24] She made her first American magazine cover on the February 2018 edition of The Cut.[25]

Television filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009–2012 Freshly Squeezed Herself Lead host
2012 Playing It Straight Herself Host
2016–present The Good Place Tahani Al-Jamil Main cast
2018 DuckTales N/A Guest voice[26]
2020 Mira, Royal Detective Auntie Pushpa Recurring role[27]

Radio[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013–2015 The Official Chart Host BBC Radio 1

Other ventures[edit]

In 2012, she began radio hosting.[28] In June 2012, Jamil collaborated with Very.co.uk to debut her first fashion collection.[29]

Activism[edit]

Late in 2015, Jamil launched Why Not People?, an events and membership company dedicated to hosting live entertainment events accessible to disabled people.[30] In March 2018, Jamil launched an Instagram account called I Weigh,[31] inspired by a photo that she came across online of Kourtney, Khloé and Kim Kardashian with their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, detailing each woman's weight.[32] Jamil describes I Weigh as "a movement... for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are, and look past the flesh on our bones".[33] The account welcomes submissions of followers' non-edited or airbrushed selfies using the hashtag #iweigh, with text describing the things that they feel grateful for or proud of.[33][32] In part due to this work, Jamil was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women during 2018.[34]

Charity[edit]

Jamil appeared on C4 "Orange Rockcorps 2009", volunteering for four hours to help create a concert to fund local community projects.[35] She has supported the Cultural Learning Alliance, which promotes access to culture for children and young people,[36] and Vinspired National Awards for people aged 16–25 who have contributed to their communities through volunteering.[37][38] Jamil designed her own version of SpongeBob SquarePants, for a Childline charity auction.[39] Jamil also said that she would wear a chicken costume for the same number of days equal to the number of thousands of pounds she raises for Comic Relief. She was sponsored approximately £16,000 so vowed to wear the costume for 16 consecutive days.[40]

Personal life[edit]

Jamil has been in a relationship with musician James Blake since 2015.[41] She currently resides in London, England.