Published: April 7, 2021

Jameela Jamil, star of NBC's The Good Place and a writer and activist, will give a virtual CU Boulder talk at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 8. She chatted briefly with CU Boulder Today on topics including what it's like to be on a hit TV series, while also doling out some career advice.

Actress Jameela Jamil

If you go

Who: Students, faculty and staff
What: Jameela Jamil talk
When: Thursday, April 8, 6 p.m.
Where: Zoom

Pre-register to Attend

Talk a little about what it is like to be on a hit TV series. How has that changed your life?

Mostly it has meant my advocacy can spread further across the world. I Weigh would never have happened without The Good Place, and my being able to use all my promo opportunities for the show to also talk about the things I cared about regarding how our society makes marginalized people feel.

It also meant I was able to meet and act with Lisa Kudrow and Maya Rudolph, so now I have nothing left to achieve! I can retire now!

Tell us a little about your I Weigh platform, and how and why you created that?

I created it after a viral tweet of mine complaining about how women’s value is still measured on a scale rather than our achievements, attributions and contributions to society. It took me by surprise how fast word spread.

It has since grown to a community of 1.3 million people, who all are interested in activism/advocacy or mental health, where we create petitions, changing policies within social media platforms, and are working toward a few bills that would protect minors. We have a podcast, a YouTube channel and a gorgeous Instagram full of the most amazing artists and activists sharing their knowledge with us, so that we can all learn to be better people, to all people.

What is your favorite part about being in the public eye? What is your least favorite part about being in the public eye?

I like having the power to shout and be heard, and also to make actual change because of my platform. But it comes at a price. When you’re a woman, especially a woman of color, using your privilege to call out irresponsible behaviors in your industry and society, and people start to listen to you, the powers that want to maintain those systems of harm and oppression, or members of the public who don’t like seeing a strong woman with an opinion, go out of their way to tear you down, harm your reputation and scare you off. That’s exhausting.

But enough women have had this happen to them before me...Jane Fonda, Princess Diana, Taylor Swift, Greta Thunberg, Meghan Markle, Anne Hathaway, etc...that I know there will be more after me, so it’s my job to stick around and fight back so that this pattern comes to an end once and for all. Because this attitude of going out of your way to break a strong woman bleeds into workplaces and schools—it is not just happening to women in the public eye. That’s just where is gets normalized for our society.

What advice can you give to young people who are or will be launching their careers in the next few years?

Don’t be afraid of failure. Mistakes are neurologically proven to be how we do our best and most effective learning. Don’t stop yourself from trying because you’re worried you won’t succeed. That’s when it’s the most fun to try. Failure is not a bad, taboo thing. It’s bold and inspiring. It means you tried when success wasn’t guaranteed. And that’s where you learn new things about yourself, on the road to the unknown.

What is something about you that you think would surprise people?

Squirrels lose 80% of the acorns they hide. They just can’t remember where they buried them. I find this amazing.