Angelina Jolie turned 40 on Thursday and to celebrate, we've compiled 40 reasons why the actress, director, producer, philanthropist, humanitarian, mother, and generally amazing person is a total boss.
1. She’s a working mother of a beautiful blended family.
She has six children: Maddox (who she adopted from Cambodia), Zahara (adopted from Ethiopia), Shiloh, Pax (adopted from Vietnam), and twins Knox and Vivienne.
2. And talks frequently about how her children have changed her life: "You completely live for someone else,” Jolie told People magazine. “I find that the most extraordinary thing. Your life is handed over to someone else. From that moment on, they come first in every choice you make. It's the most wonderful thing."
BUT CAN SHE HAVE IT ALL? Yes.
3. She’s consistently one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.
She was fifth on last year’s Forbes list, making $18 million in 2014 alone.
4. She started acting when she was just seven years old.
Angelina made her onscreen debut in 1982 in a movie called Lookin’ to Get Out, playing a character named Tosh alongside her father, Jon Voight.
5. She’s an Oscar winner.
She won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Girl, Interrupted in 2000.
6. She’s won two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In two consecutive years: 1999 for Gia and in 2000 for Girl, Interrupted.
7. And she’s won three Golden Globe Awards.
For George Wallace, Gia, and Girl, Interrupted. She was nominated three more times too.
8. She was also nominated for two Emmys.
In the same year. In 1998, she was up for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for Gia and Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for George Wallace.
9. She’s always found empowering, badass female characters to play. Even when it seemed like Hollywood didn’t want to make them. Case in point: Lara Croft in Tomb Raiders.
What a breasty mess that portrayal could have been.
10. And Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
11. And Wanted.
She proves that women in action movies can be sexual and smart and kickass.
12. Just look at Salt: The part she ultimately played was written for a man!
And that man was Tom Cruise.
13. Because this is how she told Total Film magazine she picks roles, back when she was promoting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: “I always play women I would date.”
14. At the top of her game, she realized she didn't love what she was doing anymore. And so she took a risk and she left the spotlight. "I became an actress because my mom wanted me to become an actress," Jolie told USA Today. "It took me until my mid-30s to realize I actually didn't. I actually wanted to write and direct and be more involved in politics and humanitarian issues. I'll do a few more films and enjoy it and if I'm blessed to have a good career, but I've never loved it like I love other things."
15. She became a director, a profession in which women are seriously underrepresented. (Variety reports “women comprise 7% of directors on the biggest moneymakers.”)
She’s directed three narrative features: In the Land of Blood and Honey, Unbroken, and the upcoming By the Sea.
16. And she started producing and writing her own content. She also wrote both In the Land of Blood and Honey and By the Sea and has produced all of her own movies so far, as well as exec producing Maleficent.
17. Other actors literally attribute their success to her.
Finn Wittrock, who had a breakout year in American Horror Story: Freak Show and The Normal Heart says his success is “a testament to [Angelina Jolie] and the casting.” The Unbroken actor says, “It’s been great for us in so many ways. Artistically, it really opened me up and definitely pushed me to places I’ve never gone before.”
18. She is also one of the youngest winners of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at Academy Awards in 2014.
19. She won it for her extensive humanitarian work with the U.N.
Jolie started volunteering in 2001. That year, she went on mission trips as a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ambassador, made the largest donation ever to UNHCR by a private individual, and was later named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.
20. Her missions have taken her to more than different 40 countries. Including war zones during the Darfur conflict, the Second Gulf War, and the war in Afghanistan.
21. Now, she has been promoted to UNCH Special Envoy.
Her mission, she says, is to bring "awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon."
22. And she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even if it means taking the U.N. to task. "The problem is not lack of information. We know in excruciating detail what is happening," Jolie said of the U.N.’s inaction in Syria earlier this year. "The problem is lack of political will. We cannot look at Syria and the evil that has risen from the ashes of indecision and think this is not the lowest point in the world's inability to protect and defend the innocent."
23. She does charity here at home as well. She and Brad Pitt donated to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and to aid in relief efforts in Missouri after the tragic 2011 tornadoes, among other charitable donations.
24. She also started her own foundation: The Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation. Named after her first son and “dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources and conserving wildlife.”
25. She made millions off pictures of her children...and donated it to charity.
Rather than letting paparazzi cash in on her children, she sold the first pictures of Shiloh to two magazines and donated millions to UNICEF. The money she made for the first pictures of Knox and Vivienne she donated to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
26. Along with refugee advocacy, she fights for women’s rights. This year, Jolie helped launched Centre on Women, Peace and Security, at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Centre has been set up to fight for global women's rights issues.
27. Which makes sense, because she's a strong feminist.
"Women are still treated as secondary issues," Jolie explained at the 2015 Women in the World Summit. "It is still far too easy and accepted for leaders to ignore uncomfortable truths...It is still the norm for women to be excluded from the peace process. Women, we know, are the first to be affected by war, and the last to be taken into account when it ends."
28. She’s also a dame!
She was given honorary damehood of the Order of St Michael and St George by Queen Elizabeth II herself at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her efforts to end sexual violence.
29. She bravely spoke out about her preventative double mastectomy in order to raise awareness for other women. "Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could,” she wrote in an op-ed piece for The New York Times, about learning she carried a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
“I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."
30. She spoke out again when she later had her ovaries removed. "I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family," Jolie explained. "I know my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'"
31. She used her platform at the Kids’ Choice Awards this year to reassure them that, “Different is good.”
"I was told that I was different -- and I felt out of place, and too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in," she recalled. "And then one day I realized something, something I hope you all realize. Different is good. When someone tells you that you are different, smile and hold your head up and be proud."
32. And how she encourages that in her own family. Jolie has said Shiloh is “like a little dude." “She likes to dress like a boy. She wants to be a boy. So we had to cut her hair,” she told Vanity Fair. Pitt has said Shiloh also goes by “John.” (And for what that means for other families.)
33. When she added this into that same Kids’ Choice acceptance speech: "And as your villain, I would tell you to cause a little trouble. It's good for you."
34. The fact that she has a hot ass husband.
35. But knows that you can’t let a man define you. “Figure out who you are separate from your family and the man or woman you're in a relationship with," she told Cosmopolitan in 2003. "Find who you are in this world and what you need to feel good alone. I think that's the most important thing in life. Find a sense of self because with that, you can do anything else."
36. She managed to keep her wedding a secret, despite insane media scrutiny and paparazzi pressure.
Angelina and Brad had a fancy ceremony at Chateau Miraval in France with their family, but before that they secretly got married in the U.S. And it was very low key and nobody knew about it...until Angelina casually mentioned it.
37. Because of this quote: “I’m still a bad girl. I still have that side of me. It’s just in its place now. It belongs to Brad. Or, our adventures,” she decalred in a 60 Minutes interview.
38. She became one of the most famous memes ever.
39. Because she’s more than just a pretty face. "I don't think about beauty," she’s told 60 Minutes. "I wake up and I want to be a smarter person, that's my focus...I'm encouraging certainly my girls that if they can make their inside and who they are really, really stunning then everything falls together."
40. And because she doesn’t care if you think she’s a boss or not. "I've never lived my life in the opinion of others,” she says. “I believe I'm a good person. I believe I'm a good mom. But that's for my kids to decide, not for the world."
Which is the ultimate boss move.
Is the best yet to come? Take a first look at Angelina and Brad Pitt’s next team up, By the Sea: