Jameela Jamil on Self-Care, Mental Health and Her Mission to End Period Poverty

She’s never been one to sit back and not speak up, and now Jameela Jamil has a new mission in mind: Partnering with P&G’s Always brand to bring to light the lesser-discussed issue of “period poverty.” Backing Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Menstrual Equity for All Act—which would help systemically end period poverty in the U.S.—Jamil spoke with us from delivering a keynote speech in Washington D.C. to share why destigmatizing the subject is so important to her.  

Why this partnership? 

“I care deeply about the issue of period poverty and have done for years, and to have a brand like Always that I trust, be so active in this issue, was such a blessing. Period protection should be seen as a basic, fundamental human right, and for us to still be so behind even in 2022—never mind moving backwards in certain areas—regarding the reproductive system, is a sign that we all have to get involved, get loud and make change together. We must become politically engaged in a more thorough way—and fight these systemic and institutional issues from the ground up. Together. Which is why I am encouraging people to join us by contacting elected officials and asking them to show their support for the Menstrual Equity for All Act, which would help end systemic period poverty in the U.S.”

What was the most startling stat you learned as part of this campaign? 

“I think that period poverty is not only causing so many millions of girls per year to miss school regularly in the U.S., such a wealthy and developed country, but that it is even in some of its wealthiest cities like New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc. Few people know how bad it is because we have kept periods as this senselessly awkward, secretive subject, when it’s such a natural, normal part of human existence. We take that awkwardness and turn it to silence, and then gross negligence occurs. Nearly 1 in 5 girls in the U.S. have missed school because they don’t have access to period products. It’s maddening.”

You have a new series coming out this summer. What can fans expect?

“She Hulk is a funny, smart and deeply feminist series, that finds really entertaining ways to highlight societal truths and tells stories that I think will deeply resonate with a lot of people. I hope!”

You’re an open book when it comes to the mental health conversation. Have you found there’s been a shift in more people being open about discussing it?

“I do. I think the pandemic normalized openly discussing depression, anxiety and deep loneliness. I hope we don’t go back from here. I hope people now see mental illness was never anything to be ashamed of. Similarly with periods. Nothing to be ashamed of—and talking about them openly is the only way to destigmatize them.”

What are you doing for self-care as we go into summer?

“Snacking, walking my dog, listening to music and spending time with the people the pandemic kept me from. I think taking care of my brain and laughing as much as possible, is the best way I can execute self-care, wellness and beautification.”

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