One of the most iconic multi-hyphenates of our generation, Angelina Jolie is a force to be reckoned with, when it comes to the fight for gender quality and women's rights.
An actress, filmmaker and the Special Envoy of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), she is also an icon of femininity in every sense of the word (whether if it's her work or personal life) and last year, she was even appointed the face of Mon Guerlain fragrance.
Powerful yet demure, feminine yet bold and independent, Angelina is a woman of many facets and 2018 saw the launch of a new Mon Guerlain fragrance – the Mon Guerlain Eau de Florale –, which starred Angelina in a special film feature in a very different perspective of her (see the video below).
In celebration of that, we have the privilege to receive a regional-exclusive Q&A with Angelina herself from Guerlain for your reading pleasure!
From the idea of femininity to her story with Guerlain, here's what she has to say:
What does femininity mean to you?
So many different things. There is not one version of femininity. It means different things at different times and in different places. It can be a certain softness and grace, but it is also women marching or fighting for their rights or the rights of others.
At what age did you feel the most at ease with your femininity?
When I first became a mother, and now. That sense of ease grows and changes with each passing year and each stage in life. For me, it is about learning to accept yourself and what life brings.
You are the spokesperson of a French perfume, we often hear about femininity “à la française”, how would you define it?
Classic, refined, understated elegance combined with strength of mind and character. Poise.
How would you explain this outdated idea that femininity fades after 40, whereas men get better with age?
It is just simply not true. Wisdom, understanding, clarity of thought - all the things that come with age - are also beautiful and feminine qualities. I'd like to think we all get better with age, men and women.
Which female lead role has you played that represents femininity best?
A Mighty Heart, because Marianne is a woman I admire and learn from. She has overcome so much with strength and grace.
How can a perfume represent femininity?
By lending itself to your every mood, and escaping definition. That is what I love about Mon Guerlain.
How can a woman be truly at ease with her femininity when she is pulled in so many different directions: be beautiful, sexy yet don’t give in to the dictates of fashion and male dominant society?
There is nothing more attractive than someone being fully themselves, without inhibition, in whatever form that takes. We all recognise it when we see it - those women whose beauty is their spirit, and their inability to be anything other than true to themselves.
What would you like your girls to learn/take from your femininity?
To be themselves, fully. But honestly, they teach me, every single day. They are each so different, yet each in their own way is such a strong character.
If there was one core value you would like your children to transmit to their children, what would it be?
Freedom and kindness.
You’ve been committed for many years, how do you keep your dreams alive?
It's not always easy. But I don't think we ever stop dreaming. Having people in your life who believe in you, want you to succeed and share the same goals – that's important.
Guerlain has been working for the last 10 years to protect biodiversity and the planet. What relationship do you have with the environment, ecology, what are you passing down to your children?
We have projects helping to protect the environment in Cambodia and Namibia. In our family, we often talk about how it is all connected - wildlife, the environment, and the wellbeing of people. To protect one you have to protect all. The beautiful thing is that we can each do our part in different ways.
Are femininity and feminism incompatible?
Equality is not about us all being the same, it is about the freedom to make our own choices and live our own lives fully, not at the expense of men, but alongside men. It is not about taking each other down but building each other up.
I think it is not said enough how much we need the men in our lives to be strong and capable and the best they can be.
Can we imagine a society where men and women will be equal but where a woman won’t become like a man?