British actress and host Jameela Jamil has come out as queer at the age of 33. She said it was ‘scary’ as a ‘brown female actor’ in her 30’s to admit her sexuality after hiding it for years.
The Good Place actress and frequent Kardashian critic Jameela Jamil has come out as queer, and she did so via a long Twitter announcement on Feb. 5. She said that the controversy around her being named lead judge HBO Max’s voguing competition show Legendary led her to make the decision. After the announcement, she was slammed for heading a show that is based on LGBTQ culture, but not being gay herself. Now Jameela, 33, has decided to come out.
“Twitter is brutal. This is why I never officially came out as queer,” she started. “I added a rainbow to my name when I felt ready a few years ago, as it’s not easy within the south Asian community to be accepted, and I always answered honestly if ever straight-up asked about it on Twitter. But I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid.”
“I didn’t come from a family with *anyone* openly out,” she continued. “It’s also scary as an actor to openly admit your sexuality, especially when you’re already a brown female in your thirties. This is absolutely not how I wanted to come out.” She then said she would be “jumping off” Twitter for awhile because she didn’t want to “read mean comments dismissing this.”
“I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom,” she continued. “But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring this show…Sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalized stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance.”
“I’m just a lead judge to my 11 years of hosting experience, being fully impartial, a newcomer to ballroom (like much of the audience will be) and therefore a window in for people who are just discovering it now, and being a long time ally of the lgbtq community,” she added. She’ll be joined on the judging panel by rapper Megan Thee Stallion, superstar stylist Law Roach and voguing legend Leiomy Maldonado. The unscripted show will feature 10 actual voguing houses and follow contestants as they compete in dance and fashion contests.
When HBO announced Jameela as Legendary‘s head judge on Feb. 4, it was met with a firestorm of criticism. “Ball culture was created and is owned by the black and latinx LGBTQ+ community. It was born out of necessity and defiance. The judges should be queer and trans people,” Adam Ellis tweeted, while user Samie added, “I’m confused – was every black and latin person in Harlem (the birthplace of vogue) not available that they went to get sis from Britain?” User Lynette tweeted, “Please, @jameelajamil – let someone from the ballroom culture/vogue legends/ @PoseOnFX actors/actresses be a judge! Let someone who is integral part of the culture be a judge!” while Bobby James tweeted, “A lot of the vogue legends are very much alive. Why her?”