Two body-positive queens coming together! Actress Jameela Jamil loved having singer Demi Lovato on her podcast, “I Weigh With Jameela Jamil,” and appreciated how the 27-year-old’s openness about her battle with self-acceptance can help to normalize the struggle. “She’s never claimed to be perfect,” Jameela, 34, tells Life & Style exclusively.
“For the longest time she was one of the [only] celebrities I ever saw speak out about having an eating disorder and then fighting back against fat-shaming and continuing an open dialogue about her body with her fans,” the U.K. native says while promoting her new show Legendary, a reality competition show set in the underground ballroom community, which premiered on May 27 on HBO MAX. “So she was just someone I’ve always wanted to have that conversation with on camera.”
The Good Place starlet “didn’t expect” Demi “to be as open” as she was, or for “her team to allow such honesty to take place” on her show. “I was really, really honored because it’s really important, now [more] than ever, that celebrities step up and use their platform to be transparent and to be helpful towards their fans,” Jameela adds. “And I think she’s always been someone who’s been consistent at that.”
The “I Love Me” singer has dealt with body image and eating disorder issues since she appeared on Disney‘s Sonny With a Chance in 2009. “My eating disorder kept me from going back to acting for years,” Demi told Harper’s Bazaar in April. “But I finally came to a place with my body where I thought, ‘Why am I going to let this stop me when it’s just my shell? I stopped letting my weight control my life.”
As far as what Jameela has learned from the Albuquerque, New Mexico native, she notes Demi is proof “mental illness can find you anywhere,” even in Hollywood. “There’s nothing that can protect you from mental illness,” she says. “And the reason why I think it’s so important to me to have very externally successful and socially accepted people come on and tell the truth about how much they’re struggling. It normalizes struggle.”
“It’s wild to see everything that she’s gone through and has come through with such grace and sturdiness,” Jameela gushes. “She means a lot to a lot of young girls.”
Reporting by Diana Cooper