Jameela Jamil’s latest effort to champion diversity and inclusivity isn’t going over well with her followers. But she’s taking the criticism in stride.
On Thursday, “The Good Place” actress announced her new role as an Aerie spokesmodel and shared a few images from the brand’s new campaign. Jamil stars in the unretouched images alongside gymnast Aly Raisman, model Iskra Lawrence, actors Samira Wiley and Busy Philipps, Paralympic snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, poet and artist Cleo Wade and content creator Molly Burke.
“So excited to announce that I am joining @Aerie as an
#aerierolemodel and got to stand next to so many women I love and admire at our shoot. No retouching and inclusive of everyone,” Jamil tweeted.
“I’ve never seen a campaign like this before that represents so many minorities, and I’m proud to be in it,” she wrote in another tweet.
While it’s true the campaign is quite diverse, especially given the fashion industry’s standards, some people were quick to say it isn’t inclusive enough. The biggest thing people took issue with was Jamil’s use of “everybody” in describing the campaign; many people wrote on Twitter that the images didn’t actually represent everybody but instead represented a limited range of body types.
Jamil was quick to respond to the critics, using her Twitter platform to acknowledge their concerns while defending the positive aspects of the campaign. She apologized for her word choices, writing that she “meant disability, ethnicity, colorism, blindness, sexual assault survivors, and LGBTQ inclusion.”
The star told her followers she decided against deleting her initial tweet in the hope it could serve as a reminder for people to “learn from the mistake of the problematic use of the word, so we can all learn to be more careful.”
The actress also wrote that she spoke with “some of the bosses” at Aerie, who told her they were working on being more size inclusive. She also reiterated how “cool” it is to see “blind, disabled, black, Asian, gay and sexual assault survivors repped too.”
Aerie did not respond to an inquiry from HuffPost; reps for Jamil declined to add to her statements.
Jamil, who experienced an eating disorder and was born with partial hearing loss, which she later gained, has long been an outspoken activist for diversity and inclusion in the media. In 2018 she launched an Instagram campaign called I Weigh to celebrate body positivity and self-worth, and she has taken a very vocal stance against photo retouching and airbrushing. She has called out celebrities like Kim and Khloe Kardashian and Cardi B for promoting diet products on Instagram.
“Often, in the last year I’ve become the loudest voice that’s been allowed in body positivity and I think that has given some people the wrong idea: that I think that I speak for all people, which I don’t,” she told Elle magazine this week. “It’s just that I have a platform and a privilege that allows me to be listened to and heard, when other people who are actually struggling with these things are being ignored.
“I’m not afraid of being annoying,” she added, “I’m just afraid of being complicit in a problem that is systemically destroying the mental health of most of the women around the world.”