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

Jamie Windust

I remember when I was at school, and we had those mandatory What are you going to be when you grow up? lessons where we had to go through 942 questions about our likes and dislikes and then a vague job would arrive at the end. Mine was always firefighter, however the heat from a gas hob used to send me into a panic so I quickly erased that from my future. But what always intrigued and aroused my suspicion was that we were told that in actual fact, the jobs we were potentially going to have as adults hadn’t even beeninvented yet.

In the late 2000s, we were beginning a time of complete social and digital revolution. Our landscapes were changing and in the 12 years since then, the job and cultural landscape of the world we live in has completely evolved into hilariously millennial jobs such as ‘Head of Content’ and ‘Blog Manager’. I grew up to be a writer-public speaker-model-consultant. Like many people who juggle their multi-hyphenate career, a term I became privy to via Emma Gannon’s bestselling book, we are still figuring it out as we go.

At the moment I am writing my debut book, so for the past eight months I’ve been a writer. However when I have a flurry of photo shoots to saunter into, I’m a model. Activist is a term that has been adorned upon me and with it comes a whole other set of expectations

I’ve never been sure that I enjoy the label of activist. I understand its premise and the power that comes with the word. I also understand the privilege that the word “activist” has tied to it, and for me it always feels slightly uneasy. I’ve always understood activism to be something anti-capitalist, rebellious, physical and loud. Over the past decade, we’ve seen ‘activism’ change, and largely this has been a positive move. It allows people less able to attend physical events for ability/mental health reasons to feel engaged, which for me was a massive help. As someone with anxiety and OCD, the physical protest part image of activism that many of us have as a template was always terrifying. This movement has meant that often a lot of the work we do in these ‘activist’ spaces is online, however a lot of it has also become aligned with capitalism. What i’ve realised within this space, is that it’s ok to do brand work that correlates with the values you want to promote, as long as you’re treated correctly, and also don’t pedestal this type of work as the only way that we can create change. It isn’t something that should reign supreme, and often clouds the more important and vital work that continues day in, day out. It’s an outlet that allows us to expand our message, but also can often leave grassroots groups left in the dark, which should never be the case. 


Activist is a term that has been adorned upon me and with it comes a whole other set of expectations

Maybe it’s imposter syndrome, or maybe it’s the reality of a system that declares people activists for sharing their stories to thousands of people and having a blue tick. Whatever the reason, I prefer ‘social changemaker’. Like 99% of people that I’ve met within these circles, we never set out to become social changemakers. We were, and continue to be, fed up with our experiences and our communities experiences. We were angry. We are angry, and that often manifests itself through the experiences we share online. That coupled with a raw stubbornness and want for change, we fought and continue to fight for the voices of our communities to be heard. 

I, like many other activists, began this journey on Instagram. For years, I’ve used instagram as a way to share my fashion, my identity and my purest self like a digital heart on my sleeve. The app was my first foray into the incredibly diverse and kind space that is the LGBTQ+ community, and more specifically, the trans and non-binary community. 

People correlate Instagram followers with wealth. Our following count is suddenly seen as an approximation on our bank balance. I, for one, can tell you that that is not in the slightest bit true. If your motivation behind spreading a message of awareness, kindness and hope to people as a marginalised person is financial then don’t bother. Not just because you’re going to be disappointed by the lack of money in this work, but because that’s not why we do what we do. We do what we do because we love it and we want to see a fairer, brighter and representative landscape of whatever industry we are working in. We want to be able to see our visibility move forward and evolve into actual conversations around safety, accessibility and real life provisions for our  community.

We do what we do because we love it.

My career began with help from the clothing brand ASOS. After founding FRUITCAKE, an LGBTQ+ print publication focusing on marginalised queer voices during my final year of university, I was nominated for the Future Talent in Communications Award at Graduate Fashion Week, sponsored by ASOS. It’s the biggest gathering of graduate fashion talent in Europe and I was thrilled. I distinctly remember walking backstage and just audibly screaming. The team from ASOS kept asking me why I was so surprised. I could only return the question with something that many queer people have during their lives: “But I’m the underdog, why have I won? We never win anything.” That partnership meant I was then able to venture into the freelance world with a financial reward, as well as a token of support from one of the biggest brands in the world. Big mood. 

Since then, I rarely believe that the opportunities I achieve are actually mine. It’s a deeply rooted imposter syndrome that results in us believing we are floating above our bodies 99% of the time, just watching this person do absolutely ridiculous things everyday. For example, just three months after finishing university I was approached to write a book. I remember seeing the email and just closing it, thinking that it was fake and not intended for me. They must have got the name wrong. That was the moment I knew there was something in working for myself and trying to be the best self that I can be socially, personally and professionally because it seemed to be working. Since then I’ve gone on to work with brands such as Dove, Tommy Hilfiger, LOVE Magazine, UGG and the BBC and I still don’t really have a barometer to gauge whether this means I’m successful. Imposter syndrome is truly the freelancer’s curse. I never feel able to celebrate myself, or the work that i’m doing. 

Last year I made mistakes with who I decided to work with on social content  and campaigns. The epitome of pinkwashing, a corporate bank, during pride season, released a campaign that I was a part of, and because of their pronoun changes as a business, I thought they’d be great to align with. I was wrong. It was a narrow minded viewpoint, that was truly only self-serving, as I didn’t think about the wider ramifications that banks like this have for other marginalised groups, engaging in corruption, and often inhumane treatment across the world. It was stupid. It was an example of me not checking my privilege at the door, and being swept up by the lights, opportunity, and truthfully, the money. That’s the issue with ‘queer capitalism’ is that it can very swiftly become an opportunity to just earn money, rather than push a message. The message becomes sanitised, and I’d got lost along the way.

i realised that it’s ok to make mistakes

With that in mind, working with brands and ‘media’ focused activism is not as vital and important as it’s made out to be. What I’ve learnt through working with brands is that it’s essentially mutual exploitation with potential benefits but also major issues. It centres capitalism within the social changemaking world and then creates the illusion that social change can’t occur without capitalism. Our history, especially within the LGBTQ+ world, has shown us that this is not true. Being the face of a campaign as a social changemaker creates ripples but those ripples eventually stop and we’ll be back to square one. We need to make sure that if we do work with brands, they continue or start their support to grassroots organisations so those ripples continue into changemaking waves. No one has done the jobs that we are doing now, before us, in our shoes. No one.

It’d be a lie if I said I don’t often think about just getting a ‘normal’ job. I honestly couldn’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve fallen into an online wormhole of jobs in my local area that offer more security and perks. It always happens on a Sunday. I’ll just sit on my phone and scroll through the vacancies at the local department store to work on the beauty counter because that’s fun and flexible and also not full of self doubt and terror. I don’t think that inclination will ever go away. What gets me through that patch is the plethora of amazing people who are also doing this job and the knowledge that we are all just making our way through it, day by day, not really knowing how to do it but getting there anyway. It’s also interesting to see that when your career anxiety wormhole does fall into YouTube, many of the most successful people in the world have the exact same feelings about their careers. If Meryl Streep also feels like she ‘could be doing better’ or ‘is confused by her career’, I think we are all fine.

no one has done the jobs that we are doing now

I’m proud of being the multi-hyphenate womxn that I read about all those years prior. As a non-binary person, and as people who are from marginalised groups who have any form of platform, we are constantly told that our identity has to be a prefix to our job role. More frustratingly, we are told that our identity is now in fact our job, which I wholeheartedly reject. These messages come from people who, truthfully, I think are threatened by our power, and skill. They want to keep us in our niche’s, and our boxes, because that way we are easier to digest, and aren’t as threatening. For example, as a writer, i’m often described as a ‘non-binary writer’, therefore pushing me into one box, and one area of writing. It’s a way to keep the powerful, and traditionally successful, at the top, and the ‘different’ or ‘unique’ people in their boxes. An example of this again, is how I am only ever commissioned to write opinion pieces. My pitches and attempts to broaden my horizons as a writer are continually ignored or denied, because ‘you just write about identity, so stick to that’. We as marginalised groups should always have the onus to be able to decide when we want to do work that focuses around our identity very specifically and when we just want to do work that we love and brings us joy. It’s time that we stop feeling bad for doing so. We are creatives, writers, architects, engineers, scientists. We are everything and anything and yet we are so often told that we are just our identity and nothing else. Our intelligence and skills are diminished. 

I love what I do and I am so grateful to work for myself and have control of the work and jobs that I do. We are all learning every single day about the world and how we should navigate it. For people in the public eye, we need to ensure that we continue not just to educate others, but ourselves as well. We are never a finished product. aTo exist and thrive in this world and industry, the most important piece of information we should remember is that message that we had when we first started: tolerance, appreciation, self-respect, kindness, and knowing your worth. Our own evolution and progression is what will make what we do even more powerful. 



  • Jamie Windust

    Jamie Windust is an award-winning editor, writer, public speaker and model, who discusses non-binary and trans rights throughout their work. They’ve worked with Gucci, TEDxLondon, Tommy Hilfiger and many more organisations sharing words on how to be better allies to the LGBTQ+ and non-binary communities. They’re currently writing their debut book, due for release in October 2020, focusing on their experiences of being non-binary to provide practical help and advice to fellow non-binary/trans people.

    Photo Credit: Thomas Alexander

  • Kevin Voller

    Kevin Voller is a photographer based in London, UK. His work is made up of fashion and portraiture and tries to explore beauty in different ways. Since picking up a camera from an early age he has always been obsessed with imagery and exploring different styles. He’s shot for numerous brands and publications and strives to produce work that he’s happy with when looking back at it, which is more challenging than it sounds.

    Photo Credit: Natalia Meksa