There Is Nothing Like A Dame – Angelina Jolie has been made an honorary Dame in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
It is a remarkable change for the 39-year old actress who has undergone a huge shift in image over the last 15 years.
Back in 1995 Angelina was just getting divorced from her first husband, British actor Jonny Lee Miller, now best known for playing Sherlock in US tv series Elementary. The couple got married in 1996 when the bride wore a white t-shirt on which she had written Miller’s name in blood. At this stage she was also still experimenting with a number of different drugs and she later admitted to a lesbian relationship with another actress whilst she was married to Miller.
Although she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1999 for her role as mental patient Lisa Rowe in Girl Interrupted, she is still best known for her lighter movie roles especially playing the part of pneumatic heroine Lara Croft in 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Her appearance in the 2005 comedy thriller Mr & Mrs Smith was to change her life as she started a romance with her co-star Brad Pitt who at the time was still married to Jennifer Aniston. This sexually charged relationship could be seen developing in the movie. The affair was to see Jolie become a despised figure in many quarters as the Pitt/Aniston marriage was seen as a strong one and she was cast in the role of a homewrecker.
If we then fast forward to today however it is a very different Angelina Jolie that the world sees. She spends much of her time on social and charitable causes in particular helping to shape UK foreign policy via her work with the Foreign Secretary William Hague. Together they have worked on solving the problem of war-related sexual violence against women, launching the Preventing Sexual Violence initiative in 2012.
The official notice confirming Angelina’s award states that she is to be made an Honorary Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, for her campaigning work “for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war zone sexual violence”.
The honorary part of the notice refers to the fact that as she is a US citizen she cannot receive the normal award is this is limited to citizens of Commonwealth countries.
In addition to her charitable work she is also now mother to 6 children (3 of whom are adopted) and can add the title of earth mother to her many others. She also underwent a voluntary double mastectomy and breast reconstruction last year. She took the decision to have the procedure as she inherited the BRCA1 gene which gave her an estimated 87% chance of developing breast cancer, the same cancer which took her mother Marcheline Bertrand’s life at the age of just 56-years old.
As if more evidence was required for the amazing transformation of Angelina you can also add in the fact that she is now a respected movie director. Her first movie as a director was 2011’s In The Land of Blood and Honey, which was set during the Bosnian War of 1992-5. This was an especially difficult subject for a directorial debut and the regional government of Sarajevo awarded Angelina honorary citizenship for helping to raise awareness of the war.
She is soon to begin work on her 2nd directorial project Unbroken, another movie set during a war. This time the subject is Lou Zamperini the Second World War hero who spent 2 years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
We can expect much more serious work from Angelina in the future both in the cinema and also on the world stage.We are guessing that there will be an even bigger number of press photographers than usual on the day that she visits Buckingham Palace to pick up her award.