A warrior queen, Angelina Jolie has fought adversity and won. No other Hollywood starlet has savored life with more passion, broken biological rules or sacrificed so much to keep herself alive.In a game of survival of the fittest, Jolie created a path that would set her apart from the crowd and validate her rightful role as Hollywood’s warrior queen. At first a teenage rebel and later a graceful humanitarian Jolie saw the world as a canvas through which she could project her humanist vision.
The Wild Child
Born in 1975 Jolie was the antidote to cultures obsession with ‘vanilla’ women. Angelina took drugs, self-harmed and was alienated by her peers at school for being too ‘different’.Taking “every drug under the sun” Jolie saw illegal substances as a safety net which would distort reality and keep her away from oppression. Sadly this was not the case;the pressures of growing up in a society which saw ‘punk kids’ as an outcast took its toll on Angelina’s well-being and she was charged with mental health issues at the age of 24. Growing up as a child who did not see the world through rose tinted lens was difficult and she attempted suicide twice to escape the unfathomable black hole that she had sunk into. In a world where perfection was measured through homogeneity Jolie was the poster child for difference; tattoos, long black hair and an affiliation with the punk rocker movement, she was destined to change the landscape of cliques.
Since the beginning of time cliques were a measurement of social worth and prosperity; the jocks would reap the most rewards whereas the ‘geeks’ or the jocks antithesis the ‘Emo/Punk’ would be left empty handed craving a better future. Jolie like most outcasts was teased for being physically imperfect, where her glasses, thin frame and distaste of conventional beauty led her to be ostracized time and time again. The only way that Angelina could rebel against the norm was to create a character that was so daring that it would demand attention from anyone that crossed her path. Jolie’s obsession with the wild child image led her to develop an eating disorder, severe insomnia and was sectioned for 72 hours in UCLA Medical Centre’s psychiatric ward. From this moment forth Angelina Jolie shook off her wild child image and entered phase two: the selfless mother.
The Selfless Mother
In a state where cultural diversity is still considered problematic Jolie challenged the racist agenda and visited war-torn countries to give them a better life, free from the restrictions that a child soldier or slave would face back home. Unafraid, loyal and fiercely intelligent, motherhood flawlessly defined Angelina’s transition from ‘wild child’ to ‘selfless parent’. To become a parent is considered by many to be the greatest lifetime achievement a person could have and unquestionably saved Jolie from self-destruction. In parenthood we find solace and Jolie’s six strong brood has cemented her role as a selfless mother.
Angelina’s desire to become a mother stemmed from a visit to Cambodia in 2001 where she visited Maddox with Billy Bob Thornton, who she later adopted alone. Jolie was touched by the plight of the suffering children, whose lives were tinged by sadness and destitution and made it her mission to change their lives for the better. Rejecting the ideal that poverty determines your status and well being, Angelina wanted to highlight that deprivation can regress and transform into prosperity. Through becoming a mother Angelina found happiness.
Named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, Jolie Pitt has carried out more than 40 field missions to some of the most remote regions of the world to highlight the plight of millions of uprooted people and to advocate for their protection. To Angelina food, water and hygiene are basic human rights and should be available to everyone regardless of class, gender and occupation. Class does not determine a persons right to live and Jolie fought against adversity to challenge labels that are prejudiced against the ‘poor’. Poverty should be addressed as a concern and not a plague upon the properties owned by the wealthy. As Jolie once said ” A woman of my standing should not complain but think of others” who have little concept of what happiness is.
In 2012 Angelina was recognized as António Guterres special envoy, rewarded for tirelessly campaigning to save lives, solve and reduce poverty and highlight the hypocrisy of the media elite. In war torn zones refugees are created, forced to explore desolate worlds alien from their own and labelled as the destitute. Contrary to popular belief-which Angelina has fought to challenge- destitution is not the product of free will nor is it an indicator of a countries faults. Destitution is defined by the environment and to an extent cultural limitations that affect a persons financial standing. Angelina saw that both religion and the media were the main institutions that had presented this unfavourable image of the refugees and sought to use her ‘celebrity power’ to change public perception.
Why is Angelina an Icon?
Unafraid to challenge homogeneity, Angelina is a paradox; both a humanist and a feminist she combines both principles to reject that misfortune and gender labeling is a product of social circumstance. Instead Angelina shows that it is ok to be different because it is our flaws that shape our path to success. In flaws we can find a loophole, through flaws our life is imperfect but complete because of it. Jolie has the ability to break societal barriers, the need to sustain other lives and the selfless actions of a woman whose experiences have brought her courage.