Angelina Jolie

by Lamia from San Diego

A Humanitarian's Help

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself," claims American author Joseph Campbell. His words are simple. A hero is not a self-absorbed person, obsessed with what will make their own lives better. A hero is a person who cares about the big picture and dedicates their life to making a difference in other people's lives. Angelina Jolie dedicates her life to not only her acting, but also to her work with the UNHCR and other charities. Her mission: to make the world a better place. Born into a family of actors, Jolie began acting at a young age. In 2001, she filmed Tomb Raider in Cambodia; while she was there, she was shocked by the poverty she saw in Cambodia, hence marking the start of her role as a humanitarian. She immediately got involved with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). She is also an inspiration to women around the world due to her campaign against breast cancer. Angelina Jolie is more than an award winning actress. She is also an honored humanitarian and an inspiration for women facing breast cancer. Through her dedication, selflessness and courage, Jolie is a hero to people everywhere.

Ever since she was exposed to the poverty in the world, Jolie made it her mission to do anything she can to make the world a better place. She got her first taste of poverty in 2001, while filming in Cambodia, and immediately began working as a humanitarian: "Jolie used the fame she garnered early on to do good around the world. She was invited to be a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations and has pretty much traveled consistently since then, doing what she could to raise awareness of problems around the world" (Gale). Her dedication towards her work is shown by her motivation to use her fame as an advantage to raise awareness of the problems in the world. Her work has continued on from the time she started in 2001, to the present. She did not give up in her quest, and seems as though her motivation will not disappear. As for what she has already done, her dedication paid off. "Named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, Jolie 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" (UNHCR). First, Jolie's dedication was awarded with the title of "UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador." Second, her large number of missions shows her dedication and just how much time she put into her work as a humanitarian. She didn't just do a few missions and stop. Jolie continued working as a humanitarian for thirteen years. Her dedication towards the work that she does makes her a true hero.

A generous person, Jolie has donated large amounts of money to charity. The actress recognizes that she can easily make a difference in the world. She claims, "The reality is I make a ridiculous amount of money to be an actor. [Her salary for the second Tomb Raider was a reported $12 million.] And I love being an actor, but I don't need that money...just to have a bunch of money--what do you do with it? What is your life about? But if you know exactly what you're doing with it, and you can see it changing other people's lives, there's a reason for it" (Angelina Jolie qtd. Cawley). It is clear that Jolie is keenly aware of her well-paying salary. She notes that she doesn't need the money and that there are better causes that the cash can go to. In many cases, wealthy people use their money to get unnecessary luxuries for their family. Rather than hoarding the money, Jolie donates it, thinking about more beneficial ways the money can be spent. The money always goes to a good cause: "The Special Envoy's commitment to the organization is further demonstrated through her donations to UNHCR, amounting to more than US$5 million since 2001. The funds have gone towards building schools - in locations such as Kenya and Afghanistan - as well as other initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the forcibly displaced" (UNHCR). The millions of dollars that Jolie donates go to less fortunate countries such as Kenya and Afghanistan. There, days are brightened as children get the education they deserve and the help they need. Jolie's selfless personality is shown by her large donations towards good causes. Her ability to think about how she can do good for the world with what she has, portrays how she is a hero.

Angelina Jolie is a courageous woman, putting her life in danger for others and fighting for causes she believes in. As a humanitarian, Jolie has traveled to many places, and her courage in less fortunate places is admirable: "Jolie contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and began working with the organization, traveling to some of the world's most forsaken locales, visiting refugee camps and war-torn zones under often dangerous conditions. It has been a continuing and very serious commitment (she was appointed a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR in August 2001), and she has given huge amounts of her time--and millions of dollars--to bettering the lives of people in places like Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Chechnya" (Cawley). As a wealthy actress, Jolie is not required to take on difficult situations. Matter of fact, she could live in the lap of luxury her entire life. Instead, Jolie courageously steps up and goes on missions that are not always safe. Traveling in poor conditions, but never faltering, Jolie inspires younger people to think about how they can help the world. She has dedicates a lot of her own time to helping other people in impoverished areas of the world, even if it means putting her own life in danger for a refugee in a war-zone. And Jolie's courage doesn't stop there. The humanitarian and mother of six also recently got a double mastectomy.  Beth Peshkin, from Georgetown Cancer Center quotes Jolie's words on why she went public with her surgery. "I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options" (Angelina Jolie qtd. Twombly) As a celebrity, Jolie is always observed by the media, therefore, it would not be unusual for her to want her private life to remain, well, private. Yet, Jolie recognizes her surgery as a beneficial way to raise breast cancer awareness. She took the opportunity, hoping to light a path for young women who are worried about breast cancer. A mastectomy is a big deal and it could not have been an easy to make the news public. But showing her courage, Jolie stepped up, knowing that the consequences (publicity and rumors) were no match for the benefits.

Jolie truly is a hero for her pubic determination to make the world a better place, her selflessness in her donations and her courage to stand up in even the toughest times. As an Academy Award winning actress, she is a public figure looked up to by many. Her work as a humanitarian and her success as one as well, makes her admirable and thus declares her a hero. She spent the last twelve years traveling around the world, donating large amounts of money and making her breast cancer awareness public. Jolie donated millions of dollars to various charities and also given up numerous hours out of her busy schedule to travel around the world to work with the UNHCR to improve the lives of impoverished people. Even more so inspiring was her courageous decision to get a double mastectomy, and make the matter public. In turn, the actress raised awareness of breast cancer, opening the eyes of women around the world.  Her work as a humanitarian and a public figure has inspired many other people, especially young women. As a young woman myself, I am now fully aware that breast cancer is a possible thing for women everywhere. Thanks to Jolie's work, I have now become aware of this fact. Second, her efforts as a humanitarian opened my eyes to the poverty around the world. She has motivated me to selflessly do what I can to help the world. She strives to do whatever she can, and step by step she has done so much. I admire her bravery and her selflessness greatly and strive to make a difference just like she has. I am sure this goes towards other girls too. Tying in with Campbell's words, she has truly "given his or her life to something bigger than oneself," in this case, the world. As a public figure, Jolie used her work to introduce poverty to more people. Her work has inspired people across the globe to see what they can do to make a small difference in their community or the planet.


Works Cited

"Angelina Jolie." Biography in Context. Gale, 2000. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.

"Angelina Jolie Fact Sheet." UNHCR News. UNHCR, 2014. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. <>.

Cawley, Janet. "The Transformation Of Angelina Jolie." Biography 7.10 (2003): 42. Biography Reference Center. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.

The Quote Yard. The Quote Yard, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.


Twombly, Renee. "Embracing the "Angelina Jolie Effect"" Lombardi at a Glance. N.p., 18

July 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.




Page created on 4/19/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/11/2018 4:09:10 PM

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