Sep 062012

Angelina Jolie was born on June 4th 1975 in Los Angeles to an Oscar-winning father (Jon Voight) and an actress mother, Marcheline Bertrand. (Not surprisingly, she appeared in her first film at the age of 5.)

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie: This image is a work of a United States Department of State employee, taken or made during the course of an employee’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain per 17 U.S.C. § 101 and § 105 and the Department Copyright Information.

As a teen she tried modeling, appeared in music videos and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Later, she attended also New York University.
She began her career as an actress in earnest in the 90s. Her first huge achievement was in the role of Gia for which she’s won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. For her dramatic performance in 1999 Girl, Interrupted Angelina Jolie was awarded Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jolie took interest in different genres as well and took on the role of Lara Croft in the successful Lara Croft franchise and starred in other action-adventure films including Taking Lives (2004), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005), and The Good Shepherd (2006).
In 2007, Angelina Jolie returned to drama in A Mighty Heart, the film about the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl. She’s gifted us with a tour-de-force portrayal of the pregnant during the crisis Mariane Pearl, Danny’s wife.

It seems that Angelina’s equally suited for roles as an action hero as for demanding dramatic roles. In the first case, our focus is on her beauty; in the second, her acting talent shines. (Since then Jolie appeared in several films and has produced and directed one as well.)

This much: now you know where she comes from and that she’s a successful actress. The rest of the story takes place in the context of her roots and career. She was born into an entertainment business family and continues her family’s tradition. As a working actress she didn’t grow up away from the limelight but in it. As an entertainer, she was surrounded by eccentricity and experimented with it. She didn’t date Bob who works at a fast food restaurant but her costars. That’s why her romances were better known than ours.

In the words of Angelina Jolie:
“I grew up in front of everybody, really. The big years of exploration. There was a certain madness I was going through. I learned a lot about myself. People tend to sum up times in your life and simplify. I would say there’s a way of being bold when you’re young that seems very brave… What’s perceived as tough is a very funny thing. I think to be a parent is one of the scariest, boldest things to do, as opposed to, um, getting a tattoo… Much more than jumping into a pool when you’re 20.”

She married her coworkers. At 19, she married Jonny Lee Miller (her costar in Hackers). The marriage lasted 4 years. In 2000 she married another actor, Billy Bob Thornton; they stayed together for 3 years. It appears that the marriage broke up over Angelina’s decision to adopt a child. She adopted Cambodian orphan (Maddox) and gave up on a husband unwilling to shoulder responsibilities of fatherhood. (As we all know she added another two adopted children to her single mother family.)
While filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004, Jolie met Bratt Pit. The rest is history, it appears that the two are compatible: both have strong values and personalities, they raise the adopted children together and have added three of their own to the brood. (Steeling a husband? Please! Have you ever heard of a happy husband abandoning his spouse? Neither have I.)

Here you have it: a girl looked for love and found her true calling as a humanitarian in the misery of after-war Cambodia. It is there that she saved a child and found herself. It seems that Angelina Jolie has found her contentment with the right partner and with the family she created.

Here is another aspect of Angelina: after over a 7 year battle with cancer, Angelina’s mother passed away. Angelina was very close to her mother, the loss hit her very hard and further affirmed her commitment to her own family.

To quote Angelina:
“I’d like to believe that the people that have supported me in my work or identified with me in films, the people that feel they know me, they do and they don’t have misconceptions – they understand. I believe that.”

Angelina Jolie and Condoleezza Rice

Angelina Jolie and Condoleezza Rice during the World Refugee Day at the National Geographic Society on 15 June 2005. Photo: public domain

Angelina Jolie is as famous for her tireless humanitarian efforts as for being a movie star. Her dedication and compassion have been recognized: she’s been appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2001. She fought hard for the rights of refugees and victims worldwide; she raised funds to end suffering and continually pours 30% of her income to relieve human suffering be it in Pakistan, Darfur, Cambodia or elsewhere. The United Nations Association of the USA bestowed on her the Global Humanitarian Action Award in 2005.

Angelina Jolie’s Journey to Cambodia (Angelina Jolie is the latest celebrity to pose for Louis Vuitton’s popular “Core Values” campaign.)

This is Angelina Jolie’s brief insight on her confrontation with refugees’ suffering:
“[on Cambodia and her humanitarian work] – One of the first camps I went to had 400,000 people. It was a sea of human misery. In Sierra Leone, I saw tens of thousands with their arms and legs cut off [by rebels], orphaned children. I felt completely overwhelmed. I cried constantly. I felt guilty for everything that I had. Then I realized I wasn’t doing these people any favors by crying. I kept getting angry at the injustices until I couldn’t think straight. I took a deep breath and focused on how I could help. I discovered that I was useful as a person. When I met suffering people, it put my life into perspective. It slammed me into a bigger picture of the world.”

This post has been written in the aftermath of Prince Harry’s nude romp in Las Vegas. For a while the spotlight of worldwide media focused on his nudity. Beats me. (Anybody who didn’t have a nude romp at some point, please stand up!) I don’t see why a picture or a video of Prince Harry in the buff is more attention-worthy than all aspects of his life combined. (Did you even know that he’s actively involved in many of the same charitable causes his mother was supporting?)
Why this departure from Angelina Jolie? Because the same seems to be true in her case. The tabloids feed on her every tattoo, every relationship, every eccentricity. Angelina Jolie is stunning, interesting, charitable, active and successful so the interest in her is certainly justified. The focus however is off.

Angelina Jolie is amazing because:

  • she’s an independent and powerful woman
  • she’s is an accomplished actress
  • she’s a very successful business woman
  • she’s dedicated to humanitarian causes (she makes a great deal of money and gives 30% of it to charity!)
  • she’s compassionate
  • she’s a licensed pilot
  • she leads an independent life true to her convictions
  • she’s inspirational
  • last but not least, she’s very beautiful: outside and INSIDE

If I were to say right now – following all of the above – that she’s just gotten a new tattoo and you’d run to get a similar one as opposed to supporting humanitarian causes, earning a pilot license or starting lucrative business, the problem lies with you. When all is said and done, it’s easier to lie on a tattoo table and spend a few bucks than stand up and fight for one’s beliefs or work hard to accomplish something of significance…. (You don’t have to be rich to be like Angelina, but it takes guts: volunteer to teach English as a second language or to help feed the homeless. Side effect? Beauty attracts people and the true beauty is HEART!)

A girl had to experiment to get things right. Angelina’s experiments may have been more extreme than our own but they paid off, the conclusions she arrived at are also above the average. The final product of her many experiments is a spectacular self birth, she’s an independent woman with guts and many achievements to her credit. A gorgeous woman and a beautiful human being.

Looking for inspiration? Angelina Jolie said:
“Love one person, take care of them until you die. You know, raise kids. Have a good life. Be a good friend. And try to be completely who you are. And figure out what you personally love. And like go after it with everything you’ve got no matter how much it takes.”

Forget the tattoo, try to become just ONE aspect of Angelina Jolie!