Jane Fonda is 82 years old, but her zeal for activism hasn’t changed a bit; just check out the recent photos of her being arrested while protesting climate change in Washington, D.C. As a successful and celebrated actress, Fonda has used her fame to do good both on and off-screen — bringing her talents to the worlds of entertainment and advocacy.
In this episode, #SeeHer Story recognizes Fonda’s many accomplishments and her lifelong dedication to being an empowered woman.
The goal of #SeeHer Story, a digital video series from Katie Couric Media and PEOPLE, is to recognize female trailblazers throughout the past 100 years and celebrate how they’ve helped to shape history and culture.
As this year marks the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, the series hopes to commemorate such an important time for women in history by recognizing fearless women who have made strides for others to follow in their footsteps.
Born in New York, Fonda grew up in a privileged family as the daughter of actor Henry Fonda and socialite Frances Ford Seymour.
“We looked like the American dream,” she explained in the clip. “But a lot of it was simply a myth.”
Fonda’s mother died by suicide when the actress was 12, and her father was often distant.
Her acting career began after her brief stint at Vassar, winning a Tony nomination at 22 for There Was a Little Girl.
Several movies later, Fonda won her first Academy Award for Klute in 1971.
In addition to acting, Fonda began working as an activist, speaking out about the civil rights movement and Vietnam. One of her protests, which saw her posing on a Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, was met with extreme backlash and earned her the derogatory nickname “Hanoi Jane.”
She apologized, explaining that her “intentions were never to hurt them or make their situation worse. It was the contrary — I was trying to end the killing and the war,” she said in the clip.
In 1978, she earned her second Academy Award for Coming Home, in which she played the lover of a wounded Vietnam warrior.
After marrying Atlanta-based billionaire Ted Turner in 1991 (the two have since split), Fonda founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential which provides sex education to teens.
In 2005, Fonda created an organization that helps advocate for better representation of women, and today she continues her activism by bringing awareness to the climate change crisis.
“This is a collective crisis and it requires collective action, so I decided to use my celebrity to try to raise the sense of urgency, and I moved to Washington and I’m going to get arrested every Friday,” Fonda said in the clip.
The actress — who now stars in the Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie with Lily Tomlin — is sticking to her word. By the end of 2019, she had been arrested five times.
#SeeHer Story will also be a regular feature in PEOPLE’s print edition, the weekday morning newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric, on PeopleTV’s entertainment show PEOPLE Now as well as on PEOPLE Now Weekend.