Struggle, strength, substance and success: Angelina Jolie
On the surface of things, one may argue that Angelina Jolie should not be called an achiever because she came from a Hollywood background, and therefore, she got into the industry on the basis of being the daughter of the acclaimed Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. These cynics may also argue that Jolie was a wastrel who indulged in a lot of “unpleasant activities”, and therefore, she deserves neither respect, nor acknowledgement. They are right, but only halfway. While Angelina Jolie was born into a family of well known people in Hollywood, her childhood was anything but easy, and she was anything but spoilt. The turbulence which she went through during her teenage years was also an echo of all the anger and the frustration she had felt, and the feeling of belonging, which had eluded her throughout her formative years. Angelina Jolie is a woman who survived it all, who made bad decisions, romantic and otherwise, and who learnt from each of her mistakes. She took her lessons and turned them into the drive behind her success, in all areas of her life. Angelina Jolie’s father was an Oscar winning actor, but he was never faithful to his wife, and this created tensions in the marriage, which finally lead to their divorce. Jolie was brought up by a struggling single-mother who put her career behind her, as she struggled to make ends meet. Ever since then, Jolie had a very strained relationship with her father. She gave up his surname and used her middle-name as one. Her childhood too, was spent in depression, which often lead her to think about suicide. The dark vortex of depression in turn lead her to substance abuse, and, generally speaking, a very rocky foundation. She trained at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and she went on stage for a couple of productions, but her first big break happened when she acted in George Wallace(1997). Her role of Cornelia Wallace fetched her a Golden Globe award, and people began to notice her beyond being Jon Voight’s daughter. She had always grabbed attention because of her unique features, and her sex appeal, but with the movie, her acting skills too, gained prominence. She went on to do good movies such as Gia (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), the Lara Croft series, A Mighty Heart(2007), Changeling(2008), and a few animation movies as well. She started off by playing edgy, passionate characters, but over the years her acting got more refined, more restrained and she started playing increasingly complex characters. Meanwhile, Jolie’s love life got more tumultuous with the passing years. After a fiery live-in relationship during her teenage years, Jolie met Jonny Lee Miller, and they got married in 1996. However, the marriage fizzled out, and the couple got divorced in 1999. Jolie then married Billy Bob Thornton in 2000. They were a very volatile couple, both towards one another, and towards others, as a couple. They both used to wear each other’s blood in tiny little vials which they used as pendants. Their marriage too, did not last very long, and in 2003, they separated. Despite a very tumultuous life, Jolie not only made a name for herself as an actor, she also furthered many humanitarian causes. She became the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She started adopting children, and she entered into a stable relationship with Brad Pitt in 2005. Together, they adopted two more children, and had three babies. Angelina Jolie was always considered to be the wild child, the rebel. But despite all kinds of speculations about her, she quietly persevered in every front of her life and today, she is looked upon as a gorgeous, passionate, intelligent, compassionate and talented woman. In every sense of the word, she has risen as an achiever, despite all odds.