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Angelina Jolie Exclusive MiNDFOOD Interview

MiNDFOOD speaks exclusively with the actor, mother and crusader about her globe-trotting life, new film Maleficent, and love of nine years - Brad Pitt.

Angelina Jolie Exclusive MiNDFOOD Interview

Oscar-winning actor Angelina Jolie, 38, is one of the most admired women in the world. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of numerous humanitarian and political causes around the world since 2003, and in doing so has won a number of humanitarian awards, including the 2003 Citizen of the World from the United Nations.

No stranger to controversy, in 2013 Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy after discovering she had an 87 per cent risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective BRCA1 gene.  (Her mother Marcheline died in 2007, aged 56, of ovarian cancer.) A seemingly real-life superhero, she seems to do it all with ease. As always, no subject is off limits when interviewing Jolie. She’s fearless, enchanting, and most of all utterly unique.

THE WORD “EVIL” IS OFTEN ATTRIBUTED TO MALEFICENT. HAVE YOU FELT EVIL AROUND YOU?

Of course. I have spent time, especially with the UN, on borders where people whose homes have been burned have crossed with their children. They’ve been gas-attacked, their nails pulled out, children wounded – so I feel there certainly is evil in the world. But we need to understand it and the root causes of it and we need to see if there’s a way to really fight it. I think justice is one and education is the other, and our strength of will to unite the strength of the good people with good energy in order to really fight up against this evil.

YOU’RE AN ACTOR, A DIRECTOR AND AN ACTIVIST. IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE OF THESE THREE ROLES, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

I would be involved in humanitarian and political work first. I couldn’t not do that.

APPARENTLY YOUR DAUGHTER, SHILOH, LAUGHED WHEN YOU OFFERED HER THE ROLE OF THE YOUNG PRINCESS IN MALEFICENT?

(Laughs.) Well, I wasn’t really seriously offering it to Shiloh because I knew there wasn’t a chance she would consider being princess. I’ve never been able to get her in a dress or a skirt in her whole life. So I did mention it to her and she did find it really funny.

TWO OF YOUR OTHER CHILDREN, PAX AND ZAHARA, ARE BRIEFLY IN THE FILM. ARE THEY INTERESTed IN ACTING, AND HOW DIFFERENT ARE THEIR PERSONALITIES?

They are all very different in their personalities, beautifully. I don’t think they have an interest in acting; if they were to be interested in acting I would encourage them to do that and something else. I think it’s not a good thing [that it is] the only thing or the centre of one’s life, but our idea is just not to keep them from it. We don’t want to keep film from them, but we also hope we show them enough of other things that they become many other things.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SON, MADDOX?

Maddox seems to be very interested in music and literature. I could go on and on but I have six [children] so you would have to wait (laughs). But some are funnier than others, some are more serious than others – they are all very different in their personalities but we are proud they are very individual. We guide them, but we also let them become who they are.

DID YOUR KIDS PLAY A PART IN YOUR DECISION TO MAKE THIS FILM?

Well, of course. I tell my kids stories every night before bed and I have to come up with [them]. I am always doing different voices and things – as an entertainer, there’s nothing that gives me more pleasure than entertaining children. And [it’s] also something that can bring joy around the world because the way children respond to film obviously is so magic, just to make them laugh.

I haven’t done many films like that; I didn’t know if I would be very much good at it and I haven’t been offered those roles. I never thought of myself as being very Disney or funny, but I always wanted to be able to do these kinds of films. I was so excited to get the opportunity and I love the message in the film. So I told my children when I first read the script, I pulled them aside and I said, ‘I have a secret to tell you. You know Maleficent? Well there’s something you don’t know.’ And I told them the story and they were really engaged. It really meant something to them. They loved the movie, although they all got upset when mummy got hurt; some of my kids cried.

YOU ARE ALSO EXTREMELY WELL-TRAVELLED. YOU’VE BEEN TO AFRICA, THE MIDDLE EAST, EUROPE. WHAT DO YOU TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES?
I usually try to bring my children with me, even when I have gone on the border. Recently, for example, I brought Pax to Jordan. So, I hope to bring them even more into the world. But when I can’t bring them, [to] Afghanistan for example, and many UN trips, they always look up with their teachers where mummy is, what is happening in the world [and find out] why mummy is helping people, or what is going on. It’s very beautiful and they often give me things to bring to other children. They give me their tooth fairy money. I try to make them aware of the difficult parts of the world where people are challenged but also of the great survivors. And also the parts of the world that are just wonderful adventures, the beautiful histories of many countries.

WHAT IS LIFE LIKE WITH SIX KIDS? WALK ME THROUGH ANGELINA JOLIE’S DAY WHEN SHE ISN’T ON SET?

(Laughs.) School is at 8.30am and we get up at 7.30 and make them breakfast. We walk them over and send them to school, then I go to work. We meet back home and dinner is at 6.30. No matter what, we always try to get back home. And some of the kids come and do work in my office – Maddox is volunteering, so he comes over. They all find reasons to come to mummy’s work. Sometimes they all show up and I don’t quite really  understand what’s happening. So it’s fun and there’s a great chaos. The nice thing, because they are six, they kind of pair off most of the time. And they switch pairs – Pax and Shi are really into skateboarding, Z [Zahara] and Vivi will play babies and everybody kind of has their teammate. So in many ways, they are raising each other.

I KNOW YOUR MOTHER WAS VERY IMPORTANT PRESENCE IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE WITH OTHER WOMEN GENERALLY? 

My mother was the strongest person. I didn’t really know my grandmothers. My first real female friends I met in the UN in Cambodia when I was in my early 20s, and we are still very close friends today. I had grown up in this town [Hollywood] and I had met actresses I worked with that I had good friendships with, but when I met women who were in their early 20s and dedicated to service, I met women on a different level. I saw these young women who were doing things I wasn’t doing, who were so committed every day of their lives to field officers running camps and helping people and being out there and they were real inspirations for me.

WHAT ABOUT NOW?

As I get older I have had a few very close female friends. Naturally I am very nurturing about women and as you get older and have children, you get to know women more and you become a different kind of support to each other than you were when you were younger. Your motherhood comes out and your sisterhood comes out a bit stronger as you grow older. And then, of course, I have had my daughters and they have taught me more than other girls could. I hope nothing ever changes them. I see this beautiful hope, strength, independence, confidence and loving nature, and just as any mother, you think, ‘Oh, I hope there’s nothing that affects these girls in a way that makes them question them[selves]’. I hope they remain strong and connected.

HOW ARE YOU DOING HEALTH-WISE?

I am doing great health-wise and I am very happy I made the decisions I made. The decision I made to be public was one that I felt a duty to [share with] other women. I had learned some things about my health and I felt I had to express what I had learned and the choices I had made, and I hoped it would help.  I wish my mother had made the choice when she was younger, she might have stayed alive; she might still be with me today.  So, it was just a very direct choice of me speaking about health to other women.

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