JAMEELA JAMIL ON SCARLETT CURTIS
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