In case you forgot, Amal Clooney is George Clooney‘s wife and now the mother-to-be of his future children — but you probably hadn’t forgotten any of that. You might have forgotten, though, that before she was any of those things, she was a powerful international human rights lawyer. That part of her life gets far less press than her OOTD. While the world’s focus on her fashion and glamorous lifestyle is hardly something new, just how focused everyone is on those things has perhaps never been more apparent than now.
It was one thing when Amal married the movie star back in 2014, clad in a custom Oscar de la Renta creation. That type of over-the-top luxury warrants some attention. She knew that. She let Vogue photograph her in it as she perched beside the designer himself. That makes sense. (At that point being Mrs. George Clooney could have seemed like a full-time job to some, but not for her.)
On Thursday, the 39-year-old British-Lebanese barrister addressed the United Nations, urging the organization to back an investigation into crimes committed by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq). She wasn’t there to look glamorous. She was there to work. Her message was clear: “Don’t let ISIS get away with genocide.” She stayed on topic during her passionate speech, asking, “I am speaking to you, the Iraqi government, and to you, U.N. member states, when I ask: Why? Why has nothing been done?” She went on to argue, “The U.N. was created as the world’s way of saying ‘never again’ to the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. And yet here we are, 70 years later, discussing the U.N.’s inaction in the face of a genocide that we all know about, and that is ongoing.”
Yet instead of discussing what Amal said, the world began discussing what she wore. It was a bright yellow dress with short sleeves and black trim that was loose enough around her midsection to effectively mask the bump that was beneath. Oh, and there was also a matching coat. It was a pretty innocuous ensemble, yet many headlines zeroed in on her slightly expanded waistline, while only vaguely referring to the content of her cause. It’s not that this is the first time this has happened — but it’s one of the most blatant.
Just a few days earlier, the lawyer sat down with the BBC (a pretty serious news organization) to discuss her work, and was not surprisingly asked about being married to one of Tinseltown’s hottest leading men. “The fact that you are now not just a human rights lawyer but you are known obviously because of your marriage to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, does that help in terms of giving you a bigger platform and getting more people to listen to you?” the reporter asked. While plenty of people lamented this question, Amal didn’t seem too flustered.
She coolly explained that much of her work “takes place behind closed doors” and is therefore never seen. She reasoned that if more people are aware of what is happening with ISIS and the Yazidis because of her celebrity-adjacent status, then that is a “really good thing.” It’s unclear how many of the people reading about her yellow dress know more about ISIS because of it, but her perfectly calculated response is one small example of why she’s a powerhouse lawyer in the first place.
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