Hero: Angelina Jolie
A Modern Day Hero
What does it mean to be a hero? From an early age one is brought up watching Disney movies where their is almost always a princess, a villain and a hero. Stereotypically the “hero” role is usually played by a male and the princess is usually the damsel in distress. Angelina Jolie is breaking the mold on these stereotypes, she is not only a pretty face or a posh Hollywood actress, but a philanthropist who’s deeds outweigh her fame. She was the first person to receive the Citizen of the World Award and is changing the world with her title of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
Angelina Jolie Voight’s upbringing wasn’t a typical one. She was born in Los Angeles, California on April 8,1976. Her father Jon Voight was an Oscar winning actor and her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, an actress/model from France. The marriage would be short lived because the pair split before Jolie turned two. Jolie, along with her brother, went to live with their mother in the Pallsades, New York.
Jolie’s teenage years were not ideal. She attended Beverly Hills High School where she was constantly teased for wearing braces and glasses. The torment would prove to be to much for the teen, and would result in her eventually dropping out at the tender age of 14. The next two years the actress, destined for stardom, would find herself in a dark and unrelenting place. Jolie started wearing dark clothes, cutting herself and dating boys that her father did not approve of.
At the age of sixteen, things were starting to look up for Jolie. She had rekindled her relationship with her father, and lost the glasses and braces she was tormented for in high school. This gave Jolie a new found confidence that would land her her first on-stage role as a German s&m dominatrix! By this time Jolie was taking on new roles, modeling and appearing in videos for Meatloaf, Lenny Kravitz and the Rolling Stones. Angelina went on to play in “Cyborg Z”, where her sex appeal and onscreen talent would finally be noticed.
With all her new found stardom came new love. Jolie’s next film, Hackers, is where she meets husband Johnny Lee Miller. Her next movie ventures included X-Files and Playing God. But it wasn’t until Jolie’s role as Eleanor Rigby in Mohave Moon would she get notoriety from big Hollywood producers. Jolie went on to film in a biographical film called George Wallace that earned her critical acclaim.
Jolie was finally offered a role that would catapult her to stardom. Gia, a bioepic about the life of Gia Carangi, a lesbian supermodel, who would later die from AIDS, was played by Jolie. Jolie’s role in this film landed her a Golden Globe. Although Jolie’s career was flourishing, her marriage to Miller would end shortly after filming Gia.
Alongside her divorce came a number of rumors, one of which, was true. Jolie outwardly admitted to being bi-sexual and having a relationship with actress Jenny Shimizu. Jolie coming out with her sexuality would finally put an end to all of the negative press. Jolie managed to keep her career separate from all of the turbulence going on in her life.
Jolie’s next role in Pushing Tin, a comical drama, played alongside actor Billy Bob Thornton, would give her another shot at love. By the time they were done filming, Jolie was head over heels in love with Billy Bob. Thornton was 15 years older than Jolie making their relationship highly publicized. Jolie was then offered a role as an inmate at an asylum in Girl Interrupted, co-starring Winona Ryder. Her role in Girl Interrupted won her an Oscar for her all-star performance
Jolie’s next role in Tomb Raider would also add “humanitarian” to Jolie’s long list of accomplishments. The movie Tomb Raider was filmed in poverty-stricken Cambodia. Angelina took notice of the poor conditions and displaced refuges and decided to take action. Jolie went to the UNHCR and asked what she could do to improve conditions and bring awareness to the people of Cambodia.
Jolie’s efforts didn’t stop their, according to looktothestars.org Angelina has visited more than 20 countries since the filming of “Tomb Raider” including Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Thailand, Ecuador, Kosovo, Kenya, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Egypt, New Delhi, Syria, Chad, and Iraq to name a few. Jolie also visited Haiti after a catastrophic earthquake to help survivors.
Jolie has also founded the “Jolie-Pitt Foundation”. The “Jolie-Pitt Foundation” centers itself on eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources, and conserving wildlife. The foundation has provided aid for nearly 60 countries. Jolie’s generosity didn’t go unnoticed. In 2001 she was named UNHCR GoodWill Ambassador at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva.
To date Jolie has 29 charities that aid in an array of problematic issues. Jolie’s charitable donations have helped women, children, education, health, poverty, natural disasters and global peace. Jolie has helped in almost every aspect of bettering human life qualities around the globe.
While visiting Qulai Gudara, a village in Afghanistan that was virtually wiped out from decades of conflict, Jolie reached out to make a change. She contacted the UNHCR and through them opened a school that would change the lives of 350 Afghan girls. “Angelina is a generous and wonderful woman” said 13-year old Hameda after graduating first grade.
Jolie is not just a beautiful face but a crusader fighting for human rights. Jolie is a person that used her beauty and fame as a platform to try and change the world. She took a stand when she could have easily overlooked what she had seen in Cambodia. Jolie is a role model for young girls around the world. Angelina is brave, intelligent, nurturing and poise. She is a mother, wife, an award winning actress, cancer survivor, and a human rights activist. Jolie is the epitome of a hero.
Jolie has gone as far as to risking her own life to help others. According to MarieClare.com on her visit to Afghanistan she had written a farewell letter to Brad, after being told she was a target for an attack. To risk ones own life is the most meaningful contribution to society she had made.
Angelina has proved herself to be a stellar actress, nurturing mother of 6 children, 3 of which are adopted, and a real life modern day hero. Jolie is on the forefront of changing the world one country at a time.
Angelina Jolie: Charity Work, Events, & Causes. (2014). In Look to the Stars- The World of Celebrity Giving. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from https://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/angelina-jolie
Angelina Jolie Biography. (2013). Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/angelina-jolie.html
Ramsdale, S. (2013, November 15). Angelina Jolie: How She’s Become an Inspiration To Us All.
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from http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/543046/angelina-jolie-how-she-s-become-an– inspiration.html
Angelina Jolie. (2014, January 17). Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelina_Jolie