How Jonah Hill Became a Body Positive Icon

Jonah Hill‘s early acting career involved comedies like SuperbadKnocked Up, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. In these roles, Hill played characters whose weight was often the butt of the joke. But as Hill gained more notoriety and starting acting in more dramatic roles, he made a point to lose weight. Hill also made it a point to grow and develop a sense of self love. Now, the 21 Jump Street star has become a body-positive icon.

Body-positive icon Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill | Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images

Jonah Hill’s weight loss journey has been very public 

Throughout his career, Hill’s weight fluctuated back and forth. In 2014, he lost weight for his role in 22 Jump Street. Later, he gained 40 pounds for his part in the 2016 comedy War Dogs. In all this time, Hill has been outspoken about his weight loss, attributing his success to food journaling and a personal trainer. Still, despite his current relationship with food, fitness, and his body, it took Hill many years to attain self love. 

Jonah Hill was insecure about his weight as a kid 

In 2018, Hill talked about his Inner Children Zine with Ellen Degeneres. “I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive,” the comedy actor’s manifesto reads. While Hill was working on writing and directing his film Mid90s, he realized how much those comments impacted him personally and professionally. 

Hill’s zine contains 12 interviews with people he respects and admires. Hill believes everyone has a “snapshot” of themselves from a time when they were ashamed — his is his 14-year-old self who he considered “overweight and unattractive, [a] kid who felt ugly to the world.” In Inner Children, Hill asked his subjects what that snapshot was for them. 

During his conversation with Degeneres, Hill talked about the zine being a “companion piece” to his 2018 drama Mid90s. “To me, this movie is about learning to love yourself and finding a community of people who accept you,” he said. “I’m under construction like we all are.” Like so many of us, Hill remains under construction today.

Jonah Hill shares body positive Instagram post, calls out Daily Mail ‘public mockery’  

On Feb. 25, the Daily Mail shared an article about Hill surfing in Malibu. The article included photos of Hill in a wetsuit and shirtless. 

The following day, Hill took to Instagram to shame the media outlet. “I don’t think I ever took my shirt off in a pool until I was in my mid-30s, even in front of family and friends,” Hill captioned a screenshot of the article on Instagram. “Probably would have happened sooner if my childhood insecurities weren’t exacerbated by years of public mockery about my body by press and interviewers.” Hill expressed pride and mentioned how coverage like this doesn’t phase him anymore. “I’m 37-years-old and finally love and accept myself,” he continued. Hill added how he wasn’t seeking attention from the post. Instead, he shared it “for the kids who don’t take their shirt off at the pool.”


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The actor concluded by encouraging his followers to “have fun,” reminding them they’re “wonderful and awesome and perfect.” Hill also had a special message for the media outlet. “Oh and Daily Mail, not even you can take that smile from my face ;).” Hill’s post currently has more than 1.5 million likes.