How does that expression go? Oh, yes — wild hearts can’t be broken, and Angelina Jolie’s new interview with Harper’s Bazaar is a testament to that truth. Jolie got candid with the magazine for their end-of-year issue, and what came out can best be described as an awakening. Or, as Jolie tells it, a reawakening. As she opens up about everything from her “visible and invisible scars” to fighting for women’s freedom, it’s obvious that this is a woman un-interrupted.
Posing nude beneath a veil for the photos accompanying the interview, Jolie doesn’t appear to be hiding from anything. But she admits that she has only recently begun to feel less guarded. “The part of us that is free, wild, open, curious can get shut down by life. By pain or by harm. My children know my true self, and they have helped me to find it again and to embrace it,” she explained. “They have been through a lot. I learn from their strength. As parents, we encourage our kids to embrace all that they are, and all that they know in their hearts to be right, and they look back at us and want the same for us.”
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Jolie shared that although her body bears “both the visible and invisible scars” of the last few years, she’s beginning to “feel the blood returning.” With that blood is the outspoken Jolie fans knew in the past — one who was unapologetically herself, even if it ruffled feathers. As she puts it, “If nobody ever rebelled, nothing would ever change.”
So, when asked about whether Hollywood has made any progress since the #MeToo movement, Jolie didn’t mince words. “As anybody knows, the usual starting point in any situation like this is an independent inquiry by experts who can look into the facts and identify what legal changes and protections are needed so there is some measure of independent expert scrutiny and accountability. That hasn’t happened,” she said.
Still, Jolie is acutely aware that boldness and living freely isn’t necessarily a privilege afforded to all. In many parts of the world, violence against women is still legal. And even in the U.S., domestic violence against women is a deadly epidemic. People are being displaced from their homes. There are tens of millions of refugees globally. “We’re seeing a retreat of values worldwide. Many governments are less willing to stand up for the kinds of values that previous generations fought and died to secure,” she said, continuing, “When governments stand back, people have to lead the way.”
In Jolie’s own life, she readily admits she’s up against some personal limitations. “I would love to live abroad and will do so as soon as my children are 18. Right now I’m having to base where their father chooses to live,” she said.
Perhaps that’s why Jolie ends her interview with a call-to-action to start wherever and however you can. “I think the challenge is to ask yourself what you’ve always wanted to do, and do it. Don’t just be comfortable with what is generally accepted, but find the new. Find your oxygen, your originality, your own voice,” she wrote, urging readers to “do one thing today you’ve never done before.”
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