Part one of Angelina Jolie’s life was continually splashed on the pages of the tabloids with her two marriages, her relationship with Brad Pitt, and reports of severe depression. I don’t need to fill you on the rest. All of us have bad decisions in our youth, and we grow up to become solid people, raise families and contribute to society.
With six children of her own, the actress and director, has begun a new chapter.
And only pages into this journey, there’s been a metamorphosis and transformation of touching lives in the most remote places on earth. The director and actress traveled to over 45 countries meeting with refugees in Syria, Iraq, Cambodia, and Sudan since being appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR in 2001.
She was appointed as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in April in 2012.
Far from the Hollywood Hills, Jolie spent many days and nights in hostile environments at border crossings at the Syria, Lebanon and Turkey speaking to women, child and families. She has used her own money for mission trips, sharing living conditions with fellow workers of UNHCR .
When she accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2013, for her humanitarian work, she admitted, “I have never understood why people are lucky enough to be born with the chances I had and why across the world there is a woman just like me with the same abilities, same desires, same work ethics and love for her family who would most likely make better films and better speeches, only she sits in a refugee camp and she has no voice.”
Jolie’s mother was actress Marcheline Bertrand, who died in 2007 of ovarian cancer at 56, asked her daughter to be of service to others, to be that voice. After visiting women exploited by war and sexual assault, she continued.
“…I will do as my mother asked me to do, the best as I can and be of use to others.”
Now she’s using this through film. Jolie echoed this during a recent press junket promoting “Unbroken” in New York. The film based on the book of the same title about POW and Olympian Louie Zamperini, Jolie’s second directing project. It was important to create a film that would inspire her children and people of all faiths, and to do something positive for others.
“I want my children to know about men like Louie. When they feel bad about themselves and they think all is lost, they know they’ve got something inside of them. You don’t have to be a perfect person or a saint or a hero. Louie was very flawed, very human, but made great choices and again, was a great man.”
Like her friend Zamperini, Jolie’s choices are an inspiration outside of Hollywood and abroad. Bertrand would be proud of her daughter’s transformation over the last 10 years.
Being a voice to many people feeling abandoned and making films that show the strength of the human spirit is relatable to all of us who are flawed.