My Bag


My name is Jameela Jamil. Welcome To I Weigh Community.

Two years ago we started an Instagram account to try to create a safe and radically inclusive space on social media. A lot of us want to help others and change the world for the better, but don’t know where to start.

Activism can seem daunting. Sometimes it’s just hard and lonely. At I Weigh Community, we don’t believe it has to be that way. We believe in brick-by-brick activism, and making a difference in large numbers. We’re going to have to come together and do this as one to really shift the narrative of our society.

I Weigh Community will introduce you to new voices, artists, activists and movements. These are the people we believe we need to listen to. We are still learning, and we’re inviting you to come and learn alongside us so we can all grow together. It’s never too late to want to help and understand each other better.

This movement is so important to me, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Jam x

Alison Tay is the Editor-in-Chief of the first international fashion magazine to boycott discussions about weight loss and diets. This is why, and how, she did it.

What makes my journey as an Editor-in-Chief so exciting is the part I can play in transforming magazines from arbiters of taste into agenda-setting catalysts for positive change. 

I started my career in London, and spent 15 years styling and interviewing the famous and fabulous in London, Paris, and LA. However, the day that showed me the true transformational power of fashion was a shoot with TV presenter, philanthropist, author and acid-attack survivor Katie Piper, and three burns and acid-attack sufferers who were rebuilding their lives, their relationships with themselves, and learning to love their scars, with Katie as their mentor. This was the day I learned that fashion could be so much more than making hot people look hotter. I became Katie’s stylist for her TV shows and events until I moved to Dubai to become Editor-in-Chief of Grazia.

The last five years in my dream job made me realise that it’s in my power to rewrite the narrative, and remove limiting beliefs from the conversation.  So in summer 2019, I unequivocally banned coverage of diets and weight loss across all Grazia Middle East platforms. And as a reflection of the zeitgeist, I also ditched the edition traditionally devoted to Summer Bodies – and launched an altogether more empowering Body Positivity issue in celebration of the real-body revolution taking over the world.

It wasn’t a calculated publicity stunt. There was no marketing campaign behind it. It didn’t break the internet. In fact, apart from an Instagram shout-out from Jameela, American model Denise Bidot, and body-positivity advocates in the region, it passed largely unnoticed. However, this stance was not only an act of support and solidarity with the Grazia Middle East community, but also marked an important part of my personal evolution as an editor and as a human being.

 In 2019, I celebrated 20 years in journalism, and what fuels my passion and purpose today – especially in economically and politically uncertain times globally – is knowing I’m part of the solution not part of the problem.

The most disruptive conversations happening right now in the fashion world are about social responsibility and sustainability. We’re more informed than ever about our purchasing decisions as consumers and quite rightly demand greater transparency from the retailers we choose to spend with about who made our clothes and in what conditions.

It wasn’t a calculated publicity stunt. There was no marketing campaign behind it. It didn’t break the internet.

And justifiably, this desire for a higher standard extends to the messages we’re receiving from the media we consume from our Instagram feeds to the media platforms we interact with, and we’re holding those brands accountable.

Banning discussion of weight loss and diets was a natural progression of my editorial strategy to ensure Grazia Middle East is an empowering, enriching and enlightening point of connection with our audience. I’d like to believe that our audience has come to expect more from me and from Grazia, and the fact there was barely a raised eyebrow–let alone any resistance to this decision–is a testament to the strength of this vision, and my style as an Editor-in-Chief.

As well as weight-loss diets, I’m no longer publishing best-dressed lists or who-wore-it-better comparisons, all of which in 2020, feel reductive and dépassé. I’ve inherited an editorial culture that’s been fixated on perfection. Rather than rewarding women for the way we look, it’s imperative for me to feel that I have a more progressive role in transitioning the way we talk to ourselves and each other into a more nuanced dialogue that’s more accepting of our humanity in all its complexities.

When I started out in journalism two decades ago we talked about “a reader.” This evolved into “reader profiles” as a way to address their uniqueness but today I believe the power will shift towards the collective, as the I Weigh community well knows. This is why in 2018, the Grazia Girl Gang was born – a network of ambassadors for modesty, body positivity, sustainable living, entrepreneurship, and adventure that amplify the messages that matter in the Middle East including hijabi model and activist Mariah Idrissi, and the fearless Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman to ascent all seven summits.

Encouraging our audience to form their own collectives, The Grazia Academy, a partnership with the College of Fashion & Design in Dubai launched in 2019 offers real-world skills for the digital age, creating access to self-improvement for those looking for a career pivot, a side hustle, or to make their first move into the fashion world. And for 2020, a new initiative, Grazia Means Business, will explore money management – saving it and spending it – and strategies for navigating both corporate and start-up cultures, all in an effort to strengthen and support our community.

These projects, along with boycotting weight-loss discussions, serve as a commitment to our audience that we’ll stand alongside them and cheer while we all become bigger and better – not smaller – versions of ourselves.

Becoming the first Editor-in-Chief in the world to lead in this way inspired me to take a critical look at the rest of the messages we’re sharing as a whole, and how we can be more compassionate in the way we’re communicating to change the game for us all. When I made the decision to put an end to what I see as toxic conversations, I didn’t need permission and nobody stopped me. Imagine how powerful we’d become if we all realised that.


  • Editor-in-Chief of Grazia Middle East Alison Tay is celebrating a 20-year career on fashion’s front row as a style journalist, celebrity stylist, presenter, and TV and radio opinionista on CNN, BBC and Sky News. Alison’s manifesto is to transform Grazia Middle East from a fashion magazine into an agenda-setting force for positive change, leading her to ban weight-loss and diet content across all platforms in August 2019, becoming the first international fashion magazine in the world to do so. 


    Photo Credit: Article Image: Ajith Narendra | Bio image: Fritz John Asuro