JAMEELA JAMIL ON SCAR­LETT CUR­TIS

Red - - Red Man -

My in­spi­ra­tion is al­most 10 years younger than me. I know that sounds strange, but it wouldn’t if you met Scar­lett Cur­tis. When she was 14 years old, she went through an ex­tremely trau­matic health cri­sis, and her fa­ther ap­proached me one night at a party and asked me to visit her, as I’d told him I had suf­fered some­thing very sim­i­lar in my teens. I walked into her house ex­pect­ing to find some­one I could help, some­one who would per­haps look to me for hope and ad­vice. Boy, was I wrong (and clearly an ego­ma­niac). In­stead, what I found was the smartest, strong­est and most in­ter­est­ing young woman I would ever be lucky enough to meet. Some­one who would go on to teach me so much about the world, and about my­self.

The first time we met, I thought I’d spend an hour or so with her, as­sum­ing a teenager I didn’t know at all wouldn’t ex­actly be ideal com­pany. Three hours later, we were still sit­ting on her sofa with tears in our eyes, hold­ing hands, telling each other our deep­est, dark­est se­crets and thoughts. We found a kin­dred spirit and a safe space in each other. There was an im­me­di­ate syn­ergy be­tween us, a com­plete and inim­itable chem­istry, de­spite al­most a decade in age dif­fer­ence and com­ing from two such dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

She was the lit­tle sis­ter I never had, and kind of the older sis­ter I never had. With ev­ery year of her re­cov­ery, she has be­come smarter, stronger and bet­ter. She has an enor­mous heart, and her work in phi­lan­thropy and the men­tal health field con­tin­ues to be one of my big­gest in­spi­ra­tions. She’s an ex­tra­or­di­nary writer. She has been my guid­ing light, and the voice of sense in my head so many times through­out my tu­mul­tuous 20s. The amount of pain and strug­gle she has poured into her work in or­der to help peo­ple has been a con­stant driv­ing force for me to make sure I am do­ing the same. She is en­tirely un­pre­ten­tious and con­stantly work­ing to ob­serve her­self and to evolve, both in her work and in her spirit.

This is some­thing we can all learn from. She’s my bench­mark – as a writer and as a woman.

I’m so proud to know her, and so grate­ful she is my friend. Our friend­ship, and the way we have held each other emo­tion­ally over the years, has had such a defin­ing im­pact on me, and I’m so ex­cited to see what she’s go­ing to do next. What­ever it is will be good, and it will be right.

This has turned into a blub­ber­ing ode to Scar­lett Cur­tis. I’m sorry. But she re­ally is that good. If I didn’t love her so much, I would fuck­ing hate her.

‘Ev­ery year, she has be­come smarter, stronger and bet­ter’

Jameela Jamil stars in The Good Place, which re­turns to Net­flix this au­tumn

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