BY GINGER STREJCEK
the rest of the country is busy contemplating the state of affairs
between Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie, Hollywoods hottest heroine
likely doesnt give a damn. She has more important things on
her mind, namely her real-life role as a mother and her goodwill
work as a UN ambassador.
Beguilingly beautiful, exotically tattooed and
totally uninhibited, Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie flies
in the face of convention with a flagrant disregard for public opinion.
These days, however, shes raising almost as many eyebrows
for her hand in the worlds fate, as she is in her choice of
Parlaying her big screen fame into humanitarian
aid, Angelina has become one of the most influential philanthropists
in the world. Since being appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees four years ago, she
has visited thousands of refugees, given millions of dollars for
schools, hospitals and shelters, and lobbied before Congress. In
2003, she was honored with the first Citizen of the World award.
Who knew a superstar could be such a superhero
off the screen.
I am still at heart and always
will be just a punk kid with tattoos, and I cant ever
understand how Im allowed in certain buildings, security-wise,"
Jolie said in an interview with Vogue. "To actually realize
that you dont have to have an amazing education and perfect
grades, that you can be valuable in this world that seems
so foreign to me. Ive realized that if you speak from the
heart and you really, truly care about something, you do have a
place. If you really care
thats enough. That was a really
nice discovery for me."
Celebrating her 30th birthday this June, Jolie
has much to be thankful for: a 3-1/2-year-old son, Maddox, whom
she adopted from Cambodia; a sky-high salary, as one of Hollywoods
highest paid actresses; the humanitarian relief work that has stirred
her soul; and, seemingly, her choice in movies and men.
latest flick, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," hits theaters June
10 with a big bang. Co-starring Brad Pitt, her much ballyhooed boyfriend,
the sexy thriller is about a married couple who try to kill each
other upon discovering that theyre enemy assassins working
for competing organizations. Explosions, action sequences and high-tech
spy gear set the stage for summer fun, under the direction of Doug
adopted son, 3-1/2 year old Maddox, was a Cambodian orphan.
She says she fell in love with him the minute she laid eyes on him.
Twentieth Century Fox couldnt have asked
for better movie hype. The tabloids have gone crazy over the undercover
romance of Jolie and Pitt be it real or not. Their sensational
spring fling was also rumored to be the reason behind the breakup
of Hollywoods former favorite couple: Brad and Jennifer.
It wouldnt be the first time Jolie has
made a scene with a co-star. Indeed, she has notched out quite a
history with some of her leading men. She hooked up with Colin Farrell
during Oliver Stones 2004 epic "Alexander." Before
that, she was attached to ex-hubby Billy Bob Thornton, whom she
lured away from long-time girlfriend Laura Dern after making the
movie "Pushing Tin." She met her first husband, British
actor Jonny Lee Miller, on the set of "Hackers" in 1995.
Though none of the romances lasted as impassioned as they
were with his/her vials of blood (sported by she and Thornton) and
wedding attire emblazoned with blood (for her nuptials with Miller)
her onscreen success has continued to sizzle.
She was, perhaps, destined to be a star. The daughter of actor Jon
Voight and actress Marcheline Bertrand, Jolie was never a stranger
to the film industry. At the age of 11, she started studying at
the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. By the time she graduated from
Beverly Hills High School at 16, she was a professional model in
London, New York and Los Angeles.
Music videos followed, for the Rolling Stones,
Lenny Kravitz, Meatloaf and others. She further pursued acting at
the Met Theatre Group in L.A. and became a film major at New York
University. Somewhere along the line, she dropped her last name
of Voight in favor of her middle one, Jolie (the French translation
of beautiful) maybe to make a go of it independent of her
Her first foray into film was a supporting role in 1993s "Cyborg
2," followed by the lead in "Hackers." Though the
flicks were largely forgettable, her acting skills werent.
Critical acclaim came with the TV movie "George Wallace"
in 1997 and HBOs biopic "Gia" in 1998, both of which
earned her Golden Globe awards. With 1999s "Girl, Interrupted,"
she added an Oscar to the trophy case, as well as another Globe.
Jolie has since starred in a bevy of blockbusters,
including "The Bone Collector" (1999) with Denzel Washington,
"Gone in Sixty Seconds" (2000) with Nicholas Cage, "Original
Sin" (2001) with Antonio Banderas, and, of course, the "Tomb
Raider" series (2001, 2003), where she amply filled the combat
boots of computer-animated fantasy fighter Lara Croft stunts
and all. So seductive was her incarnation of the action figure,
Jolies earnings jumped from seven million for the first "Raider"
to twelve million for the second.
In all the movie madness, "Beyond Borders"
has likely had the most profound affect on her life. The script
led her to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in August
"I started to travel and realized there
was so much I was unaware of. There were many things I hadnt
been taught in school and daily global events I was not hearing
about in the news. So I wanted to understand," she said in
an interview with National Geographic News. "I believe in what
the UN has always stood for equality and protection of human
rights for all people. So I read many books. When I read about the
20 million people under the care of UNHCR I wanted to understand
how in this day and age that many people could be displaced.
Her subsequent effort to raise awareness and support for refugees
led her to Cambodia, among other places, where she first laid eyes
on her adopted son, Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie, an orphaned baby
whom she took custody of in March of 2002, during the filming of
Beyond Borders in Africa.
Over the course of four years, shes visited
UNHCR refugee operations in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Namibia,
Tanzania, Kenya, Thailand, Pakistan, Equador, the Russian Federation
and Jordan; and she has been a generous contributor to UNHCRs
programs around the world. Jolies daily journals to these
post-conflict societies have been published into a paperback book,
Notes from My Travels, by Simon and Schuster.
My role as goodwill ambassador has made
my work as a film star relatively dull, Jolie said in an interview
with CNN International Edition. I cant find anything
that interests me enough to go back to work. Im simply not
excited about anything. Im not excited about going to a film
Hollywoods loss would surely be the worlds
From the Summer 2005 issue.
BACK TO TOP