TV & Movies

'The Good Place' Was Jameela Jamil's First-Ever Acting Audition

Though Jameela Jamil has been in the entertainment industry for many years, she didn’t become a household name until she landed a role in the cast of The Good Place. The Good Place was a hit NBC comedy created by Mike Schur of Parks and Rec and The Office fame. On the show, Jamil played the role of Tahani-Al Jamil, a super-rich heiress with an obsession with what people think of her.

Fans of The Good Place felt that Jamil was a great addition to the cast of the comedy series. But, it took a while before Jamil felt that way herself. In fact, for an entire season, she grappled with feeling like she wasn’t good enough to play Tahani. This doubt was due to Jamil’s limited experience as an actor. Though she’d modeled and hosted television shows before, Jamil had never really acted prior to filming The Good Place.

‘The Good Place’ was Jameela Jamil’s first-ever acting role

In a recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Jamil shared her audition story for the show. “The Good Place was my first-ever audition for anything. I had never, ever acted,” the model confessed. But, Jamil did stretch the truth at the audition when asked about her acting skills. “When I was 6, I played Oliver’s mother onstage at school, so when I was asked by the casting director if I had any acting experience, I was like, ‘I did theater in England,’ and I was referencing my pre-9-year-old school plays,” the activist revealed.

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But, even after Jamil booked The Good Place, she struggled with feeling confident and secure. Having never acted, she felt intimidated by her cast members who had been acting for decades. She specifically cited Ted Danson and Kristen Bell as two people who made her question her own skill-set. Jamil got so nervous that she even used food to cope with her feelings.

Jamil was intimidated by her fellow cast members

“I think generally as a woman you have a tendency toward imposter syndrome, so when you are literally an imposter, someone who has never acted, surrounded by veterans and people like Ted and Kristen, and even my supporting cast had all been working for about two decades, I felt so unworthy of being there and so stressed that I used to comfort-eat my way through the entire season one,” Jamil shared about the early days of filming The Good Place.

Jamil even prohibited herself from looking at Bell for the majority of the first season in order to deal with her feelings of being an imposter. “I was almost concentrating on how much gas I had rather than how nervous I was having to act face-to-face with Kristen. I would avoid eye contact with her for the first seven episodes. I used to try to look at someone else while delivering all my lines to her because I felt guilty for being there,” The Good Place alum shared.

Jamil found her stride in ‘The Good Place’ Season 2

Fortunately, by the second season of The Good Place, Jamil began to become more comfortable and found her stride. “But I think over the course of spending 16 hours a day with Ted Danson and all these great actors, just studying them day and night, by season two I had started to find my confidence,” Jamil shared. It’s interesting to hear about Jamil’s journey as an actress. While she admits she still has tons more to learn, she is looking forward to flexing her acting muscles more in the future.

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