Childhood & Early Life
Jameela Alia Burton-Jamil was born on February 25, 1986, in Hampstead, London, England, to Ali Jamil and Shireen Jamil. She grew up with an elder brother, Adnandus Dyzantae.
While her father was born in India, her mother was from Pakistan. They had both migrated to England. Shireen and Ali divorced in the mid-1980s. Reports claim Shireen was a victim of domestic violence.
As a child, Jameela Jamil suffered from a lot of health issues. She had congenital loss of hearing and labyrinthitis, which she corrected after undergoing a lot of surgeries.
At the age of 9, she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder known as hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Between her early and mid-teenage years, Jameela Jamil suffered from the eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa and starved herself to avoid gaining weight.
At 17, Jameela was hit by a car. As a result, a lot of her bones were fractured. She had also injured her spine in the accident.
She graduated from ‘Queen’s College,’ Westminster, London. She taught English to non-natives at the ‘Callan School of English,’ London.
Continue Reading Below
Jameela Jamil worked as a model, photographer, and fashion scout for ‘Premier Model Management Limited.’
In late 2008, she appeared on the ‘E4’ show ‘Music Zone.’ The following year, she started presenting ‘T4.’ Around the same time, she began co-hosting the morning TV show ‘Freshly Squeezed’ on ‘Channel 4.’
She presented ‘The Closet,’ an online show on fashion and style advice, on the social-networking portal ‘Bebo.’
In January 2010, she was photographed by acclaimed British fashion photographer David Royston Bailey, for a ‘Vogue’ piece on the ‘British Editorial Class of 2010.’
Jameela Jamil started writing a column for the British celebrity and lifestyle magazine ‘Company’ in 2011 and continued writing until 2014.
She began hosting the reality show ‘Playing it Straight’ in January 2012. The same year, she hosted ‘The Radio 1 Request Show with Jameela Jamil’ on ‘BBC Radio 1.’ In mid-2012, she also partnered with the British online retailer ‘Very’ to launch her own fashion line.
The following year, she started hosting ‘The Official Chart’ and co-hosting ‘The Official Chart Update,’ both of which were aired on ‘BBC Radio 1.’ She hosted the former for another 2 years and became the first solo female presenter in the history of the ‘BBC Radio 1 Chart Show.’
In 2014, she appeared in an episode of ‘Celebrity Juice.’ The following year, she was featured in a single episode of ‘The Great Comic Relief Bake Off.’
She then resigned from her job with the ‘BBC’ and moved to Los Angeles, California, U.S., to try her luck in Hollywood as a screenwriter.
Continue Reading Below
Due to her lack of experience in acting, she was reluctant to audition in front of Michael Schur. However, she impressed him with her performance in the audition. Schur thus hired her to play the character of ‘Tahani Al-Jamil’ in the American fantasy–comedy ‘The Good Place.’ The show began in 2016 and lasted till 2020. This was her breakthrough performance and cemented her place as an actor in Hollywood.
In 2018, Jameela Jamil appeared in the American late-night talk show ‘Last Call with Carson Daly’ and the American game show ‘Hollywood Game Night.’
She was featured on the show ‘Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate’ in 2019. The same year, she lent her voice to the character of ‘Gandra Dee’ in an episode of ‘DuckTales,’ titled ‘The Dangerous Chemistry of Gandra Dee!’ In 2019, she began appearing as the lead host on the American TV comedy show ‘The Misery Index.’
She played ‘Cleopatra’ in the 2019 coming-of-age comedy movie ‘How to Build a Girl.’
In 2020, she lent her voice to ‘Phoenix’ in an episode of ‘Big City Greens,’ titled ‘Animal Farm.’ She also voiced ‘Auntie Pushpa,’ a regular character in ‘Mira, Royal Detective,’ and ‘Eris’ in an episode of the American adult animated TV series ‘Harley Quinn’ (titled ‘Bachelorette’).
She appeared as one of the judges of the reality TV show ‘Legendary,’ which premiered on May 27, 2020.
She was also part of the cast of the American romantic–comedy movie ‘Marry Me.’
Philanthropy & Activism
Jameela appeared on ‘C4 Orange Rockcorps 2009’ and volunteered to organize a concert to raise funds for the development of the local community.
She has extended her support to the ‘Cultural Learning Alliance,’ which encourages youngsters and children to expose themselves to diverse cultures.
Continue Reading Below
She has backed the ‘Vinspired National Awards’ for youngsters aged between 16 and 25, who have volunteered for programs to improve their community.
She created her version of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ to be auctioned off, with the proceeds directed to ‘Childline.’
Jameela wore a chicken costume consecutively for 16 days to raise funds for ‘Comic Relief.’ She raised around £16,000.
Toward the end of 2015, she established ‘Why Not People?’ an events and membership organization, to create live entertainment programs accessible to people with disabilities.
As an activist, she campaigns against diet shakes and appetite suppressants that support weight loss. To further this movement, she started an ‘Instagram’ account named ‘I Weigh’ and also created a petition via ‘Change.org.’
She also endorses the movement against climate change and has supported activists such as Jane Fonda and Greta Thunberg.
In 2018, Jameela was named one of ‘100 Women’ (a ‘BBC’ multi-format series).
On August 2, 2019, Jameela was named the “Advocate of the Year” by the ‘Ehlers-Danlos Society.’
On May 3, 2020, she won the ‘Phenom Award’ at the 12th annual ‘Shorty Awards.’
Family & Personal Life
Jameela has been dating songwriter, musician, and record producer James Blake since 2015.
In 2016, she was suspected of having breast cancer.
She has come out as queer.
She has coeliac disease. Therefore, she makes sure to avoid gluten in her diet.
In the past, she had gained a lot of weight due to the steroids that she consumed to treat her asthma. Once her asthma was cured, she lost weight naturally, over a period of 5 to 6 years.
She once confessed to have had an abortion, as she felt she was not emotionally, psychologically, or financially prepared for motherhood. She also stated that it was the best decision for her unborn baby and herself.
She has often opened up about the several times she has been raped in the past.
She once revealed that she had survived a suicide attempt in 2013. She also said that she had to go through EMDR therapy to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder.