Thanks to Pride&Joy
ANGELINA JOLIE; GUERLAIN’S NEW MUSE
You are a mother, a wife, an academy award-winning actress, a filmmaker, and Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees but, so far, you have never been the face of a fragrance brand. What drove the accomplished woman that you are to become the face of the new Guerlain fragrance?
I was very open to Guerlain because it was a brand my mother loved, and that I knew from my childhood. It spoke to her, as it does to me, of beauty, history, and quality, the oldest perfume house in the world, from France, a country I love and feel to connected to and spend time in. As I talked to Guerlain about the artistry they devote to the making of the perfume, and the way they work in communities, sourcing their ingredients, the pieces came together and I felt we were a match.
Can you tell us the story about your mother and the powder called Ladies in All Climates that she used?
My mother was a very natural woman. She never spoiled herself, never wore makeup, and wore modest jewellery, but she always had a few special items for when she wanted to feel like a lady. One of those special items, and I remember it because it seemed so elegant, was her Guerlain powder. I think it speaks of all women having those few special things that make them feel feminine, so when I was a little girl, I would associate Guerlain with that.
What did you like about Mon Guerlain?
I love the lavender and jasmine mixed with the sandalwood. I don’t like perfumes that are too strong or sweet. I like a fragrance that is earthy and sensual and can be worn at any time. I do remember that the day I met Laurent in Cambodia, I don’t think I had ever been more dirty or smelt more unappealing. We met while I was directing First They Killed My Father, after a day on set in the field, and I reeked of dirt and bug spray. We had a really good laugh trying to decipher the different scents and subtleties of the different notes within the perfume, all the while competing with my jungle-strength bug spray.
Throughout your career as an actress you have played many different types of women. How do you define femininity?
I think it is personal to every woman. So many women I know are so completely different from each other. My daughters are. There is no simple description. It is that mystery and diversity. But I suppose femininity is that softer side of ourselves, that we all like to indulge at times.
Why was it important to you to shoot the commercial in the South of France?
It felt natural. It is a region we love in my family and that we have a history with, and it is where Guerlain sources many of their ingredients, including the lavender in Mon Guerlain.
The very next day you gave a speech at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in London and the day after you travelled with UNHCR to the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. How do you deal with all your roles?
As it has been in my life for many years, one feeds the other. It is a joy to be an artist but it doesn’t mean very much unless that work is somehow useful in some way and contributes to others. I am very fortunate that I have the ability to be able to do creative work, that can in turn fund development programs and help other people, because just being creative or just making money adds up to a very empty life if it has no purpose.
Guerlain controls its raw material supply process as part of its commitment to sustainable development. Is this something that matters to you?
Yes of course, it matters to me very much. I discussed this with Guerlain at length and I did check on the company and their commitment to sustainable development before agreeing to work with them. I am impressed by their strong sense of responsibility towards the communities they work with and towards the environment.
You have donated your entire salary from the endorsement campaign to charity. Can you please tell us about the work of your foundation?
Its work is inspired by our children, and their connections to particular countries. We visit the projects together, and the foundation is growing with them. It is dedicated to education, health, and the environment. It began 13 years ago with a TB program in Cambodia, which grew into a program in Ethiopia treating and rehabilitating children and teens with TB. In Namibia, our major focus is on conservation and education, funding a wildlife sanctuary, animal rescue program, and healthcare and education for local communities. We are gradually expanding but our focus is very much on enabling local people to develop their own communities and future as well as on rights, particularly for women and children.