The Good Place actress, who founded “I Weigh,” an Instagram movement that encourages women to post images of their accomplishments and not their bodies, was only 17 when she was hit by a car. At the time, she was caught up in the unrealistic demands of the modeling industry.
“I only modeled for a while and then I got hit by a car and ended up in a wheelchair, which probably actually saved my life,” Jamil, 33, told Cosmopolitan in November. “Otherwise, I would probably still be a model with an eating disorder.”
The actress explained that while she was modeling she was encouraged to smoke, eat only a small amounts of food, “or take a small bag of sweetener around with me so that whenever I felt like I was gonna faint, I would have a little bit of sugar rather than eat any full meals.”
Luckily for the English actress, the crash left her with months of downtime to reflect and eventually change course.
“I got hit by one car into another car and basically destroyed my back. I was in bed for about a year and in a wheelchair for about six months after that,” she continued. “At that point, I had gained about 70 pounds on steroids, so I was ‘too big’ for modeling.”
While she was recovering, she grew to realize that she had more self-worth than she knew and she decided to make a switch and stop starving herself for her career.
“I also developed a sense of purpose to protect my body after that and stop starving myself,” The Misery Index host said. “I still had an eating disorder mentality, but I stopped actively starving myself once I got better because I realized that my body was fragile, and I was taking it for granted.”
In the end Jamil admitted, the accident was “very intense, but it saved my life.”