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Ilana Glazer and Jameela Jamil Are Using Humor to Change the World

Ilana Glazer and Jameela Jamil have each had quite the year. Glazer’s hit TV series Broad City came to a hilarious, sentimental conclusion this past spring. Meanwhile, Jamil is only a few episodes away from saying goodbye to NBC’s The Good Place for, well, good. These two women are unique and talented in their own right, but they do share a commonality: They’ve used their authentic voices to effect real change, both in Hollywood and beyond. Whether it’s the body positivity movement or politics, Ilana Glazer and Jameela Jamil frequently use humor and genuine communication to move the needle forward. At Glamour‘s 2019 Women of the Year Summit on November 10, they taught us how we can do the same.

Jamil, who created I Weigh after being long-frustrated with women getting reduced to a number on the scale, began the conversation by opening up about her own journey to self-acceptance. The actor pinpointed a time when she was first bullied in school, which she says led to her developing an eating disorder. “My teacher made the stupidest fucking decision of all time…in order to teach us about charts, [she] weighed everyone,” she says. “I was the fattest, and my name was at the top of the chart. That’s when the bullying began about my weight, which led very quickly to my anorexia. That was the first time I realized I was a bit chubby.”

Glazer has also created a platform for social change, with hers connecting people to political policy. The actor and activist is the founder of Generator Collective, which was born out of her desire to learn more about our governmental systems. “I didn’t know what was coming up in the local elections. I didn’t realize that the primaries are different for states, you know, things like that,” she says. “It’s just saying, ‘I don’t know. I just want to learn the basic minimum.’ And it’s about finding minimal civic engagement and embodying that, which is voting whenever there’s an election and God forbid, canvasing once every four years.”

Jamil is just as fired up about American politics, particularly when it comes to women’s rights. “I’m really upset about abortion not being considered a woman’s right. I’ve had an abortion before. It was brilliant. I mean, it was also painful, but it was an excellent decision. And it wasn’t because of an emergency. It was just something that I needed to do because my life is as important as someone who was not yet born,” she told the audience.

Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Glamour

Aside from their activism, the two share a similar philosophy on life. Jamil considers herself a work in progress, and neither are obsessed with perfectionism, or portraying a persona online or in the press that’s anything other than their authentic selves. “In the 90s, when it was actually just TV and film and standard forms of media, [there was] a movie star image and this mystery behind it,” Glazer says. “The mystery is gone. I like it. I prefer it. Women are able to narrate their own stories.”

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