The actor made a statement following criticism of her new role on HBO contest Legendary
The actor and TV presenter Jameela Jamil has come out as queer after a social media backlash to her new role as a judge on a TV voguing contest. Jamil, who started her career on Channel 4’s teen programming slot, T4, and starred in NBC comedy The Good Place, was announced on Tuesday as the host of a new contest, Legendary, based around the predominately black and Latinx subculture of drag balls in the LGBT community. The HBO show will focus specifically on voguing, the dance style popularised by the Madonna song Vogue and the cult documentary Paris Is Burning and features rapper and singer Megan Thee Stallion on its judging panel. Dashaun Wesley – from the hit ballroom-culture drama Pose – will serve a commentator.
The public response to Jamil’s appointment focused on her perceived lack of ties to its subject matter. On Wednesday, she tweeted a statement in which she came out as queer, saying that she had kept her sexuality a secret “because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid”. She emphasised that coming out did not automatically entitle her to a place on the show, adding: “I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom. But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show … sometimes it takes those with more power to help a show get off the ground so we can elevate marginalised stars that deserve the limelight and give them a chance.”