Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Five reasons we love Angelina Jolie

By Milena Veselinovic, for CNN
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Angelina Jolie, pictured here at the 84th Academy Awards, is one of the most celebrated Hollywood actors of all time. Not content with conquering the big screen, her work in recent years with the United Nations has elevated her into a global role model. Angelina Jolie, pictured here at the 84th Academy Awards, is one of the most celebrated Hollywood actors of all time. Not content with conquering the big screen, her work in recent years with the United Nations has elevated her into a global role model.
HIDE CAPTION
Reasons to love Angelina Jolie
Family priorities
Family priorities
Impressive humanitarian work
Not just an observer
Jolie's efforts with the UNHCR
Hollywood's leading lady
Behind the camera
Influential diplomatic personality
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Angelina Jolie has demonstrated courage going public about her mastectomy
  • The actress chose to undergo preventative surgery
  • In recent years she has become increasingly well known for her humanitarian work

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time -- remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more.

(CNN) -- After Angelina Jolie made the surprise announcement on Tuesday of having undergone a preventative double mastectomy, the world stood in awe of her brave move and willingness to share her story. Now hailed an inspiration to other women, CNN examines what makes us love the Oscar-winning actress turned humanitarian.

1. Demonstrating courage

Angelina Jolie has never been afraid to express herself, emotionally or artistically. Her decision to publicly announce her preventative surgery so other women could benefit from her experience shows bravery and an overwhelming desire to help others.

Read: Jolie undergoes double mastectomy

Angelina Jolie reveals double mastectomy
CNN archives: Jolie on her mom's cancer
Explaining Jolie's cancer gene
Jolie: 'I've decided to be proactive'

She has gone against her own public image and challenged the perception of a woman's identity by choosing to speak up about her operation. Even more powerful, her global reach may influence millions of women to proactively look after themselves.

2. Humanitarian efforts

It has become Jolie's mission to provide a voice for people whose lives have been ravaged by war and natural disasters.

In short, she has turned her celebrity status into a force for good. She has personally donated more than $5 million to the UNHCR since 2001. In addition to her appointment as UN Special Envoy to Refugees, the actress has set up the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation dedicated to conservation, education and healthcare in Cambodia.

Read: Hollywood reacts to Jolie surgery

3. Transcending stereotypes

Jolie refuses to fit a certain mold and proves that women can be daring and independent, and at the same time caring and altruistic. She is a loving mother of six campaigning tirelessly for women and children across the globe, but she is also an Oscar-winning Hollywood actress.

The actress has redefined what it means to be a humanitarian.

4. Cinematic talent

From her award-winning portrayal of a mentally unstable woman in "Girl, Interrupted" to starring in the "Lara Croft" series, Jolie has steered clear of typecasting and has not shied away from theatrical risk.

Read: Jolie's brave message

In the last decade, she has steered her career in a serious and meaningful direction, starring in films such as "Changeling," as a distraught mother looking for her son, and "A Mighty Heart," playing the role of Mariane Pearl, wife of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl who was, in 2002, abducted and killed in Pakistan.

In 2011, she made her directorial debut with "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a film about the Bosnian War.

5. From celebrity to icon

Jolie has emerged as a woman who is not afraid to make mistakes. She has made the ultimate transition -- from Hollywood starlet to global ambassador and in turn, has become an icon of female empowerment, strength and independence along the way.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1045 GMT (1845 HKT)
Imagine a gadget that knows your mind better than you do.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
When your grandmother is one of the most famous cosmetics moguls in history, it might put a little pressure on you to succeed.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
bbf
When Bobbi Brown set out to create her eponymous makeup line in 1991, she had one thing to her mind -- to make a lipstick that looked like lips.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0914 GMT (1714 HKT)
The Cornell educated executive, who is hotly tipped as the successor to magnate Steve Wynn, is about to unveil the latest Wynn Palace in Macau.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
From Coco Chanel to DVF, CNN takes a look at celebrated fashion designers and the iconic pieces which launched their careers.
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
2 Caption:Avignon, FRANCE: Serb artist Marina Abramovic performs in 'The Biography Remix' directed by Michael Laub from Netherlands, 10 July 2005 at the Benoix-XII house during the Theater Festival held in Avignon southern France. AFP PHOTO ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
CNN meets Serbian-born New-York based performance artist Marina Abramovic, as she embarks on the most controversial show of her career.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
She turned her bohemian beach style and love of ballet shoes into a billion-dollar brand. This week on Leading Women, fashion designer Tory Burch reveals her ultimate style guru.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1623 GMT (0023 HKT)
Meet Mo Abudu, the talk show host portraying a very different Africa. As a glamorous presenter, she also heads up Ebony Life TV network, based in Nigeria.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
A lone blonde woman, wrapped in nothing but a sarong, leads four camels and a little dog across one of the most inhabitable environments on Earth.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Their job is capturing the most horrifying images on Earth -- keeping their eyes open, where others must look away. Meet Kate Brooks and Gerda Taro, the war photographers of today and yesterday.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
Former U.S. State Deparment Anne-Marie Slaughter says Brad Pitt is 'posterchild for engaged fatherhood'.
ADVERTISEMENT