After landing the role of Tahani Al-Jamil on NBC’s hit sitcom The Good Place in 2016, Jameela Jamil skyrocketed to stardom and began using her platform to champion equality, diversity, size-inclusivity, mental health awareness and much more.
The actress, 34, has emerged as one of Hollywood’s most outspoken activists over the past few years by never shying away from taboo topics and always keeping it real. And that’s exactly what she plans to do this weekend as a keynote speaker at Maybelline’s Brave Together Mental Health Virtual Meet-Up scheduled for 1 p.m. EST on World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10).
“I know I will make sure to speak about [mental health] as openly and vulnerably as possible so that young people know that if I can talk about it, then hopefully, they feel more encouraged to do so,” Jamil tells PEOPLE ahead of the free and remote event (link to register here: bpcm.zoom.us.)
The virtual meet-up — which also features keynote speaker Dove Cameron and moderator Kahlana Barfield Brown — coincides with the launch of the iconic brand's global initiative, Maybelline Brave Together.
The impressive philanthropic cause is "dedicated to breaking the stigma around anxiety and depression while addressing challenges and providing resources to those in need," Maybelline stated in a press release.
So, how is the beauty giant plan to do that? By donating $10 million over the next five years to global and local mental health organizations including Crisis Text Line, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and The JED Foundation.
Maybelline will also deploy a digital resource site "to make expert advice easily accessible 24/7" and compile a global report focused on anxiety and depression in Gen Z women with the help of Dr. Kathleen Pike, a Psychologist at Columbia University (and a Brave Together Mental Health Virtual Meet-Up panelist.)
As someone who has has previously battled an eating disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and even revealed that she once tried to take her own life, Jamil says seeing a company as impactful and influential as Maybelline commit to making a difference by "de-stigmatize and demystify mental illness means a lot."
"It's really reassuring, encouraging and important because I think that a lot of other brands look to that brand as a leader in the industry," she shares. "For Maybelline to take this really seriously, especially in a year where people's mental health is under strain [due to COVID-19], means a lot to me because if we can't talk about it, we can't deal with it."
Being open and honest is also how Jamil tackles conversations about mental health and other difficult topics on her groundbreaking podcast I Weigh.
As for why the star feels so passionate about speaking up? "We don't learn about [mental health] in school, we don't talk to our parents enough about it and the people who are supposed to guide us, like our doctors, don't bring it up, they don't see the signs," she explains.
Jamil admits it's "terrifying" that celebrities like herself have so much influence on the younger generation, especially through social media, but knows how important it is to take advantage of the platform she has.
"Those who have this power, that we frankly don't deserve, have to use it as responsibly as we can," she says, adding, "those who don't do anything, or use it to harm others, or prey on their mental illness or insecurity, they suck and they have to go."
When it comes to her own mental health, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jamil says training her new puppy helps keep her in check and exercise has been "really important."
"I think reducing my social media time, and catching myself with my doom addiction, because I was so addicted to reading the news and it really scared the s*** out of me," she adds. "I walk two hours a day, and it really helps. For me, those are the things that have been helpful. I think just making sure that I communicate with people that I love as much as possible, now that we're not as busy with work, it's really important to just try and stay connected."
The Good Place star's other staples during quarantine? Coffee, chocolate and cuddles in the morning — and a power suit during the day.
"Even if it's just around the house or while I do the dishes, a power suit makes me feel amazing."
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