Angelina Jolie: If you aren’t being ‘useful’ then ‘you’ll have quite an empty life’

'The Breadwinner' - Premiere

First They Killed My Father was not nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, so I was concerned that we wouldn’t see Angelina Jolie at the Oscars this year. But I keep forgetting that Angelina executive produced the animated film The Breadwinner, which was Oscar nominated in the animated category. So… will we see Angie at the Oscars? Fingers crossed. And if she’s going to the Oscars as part of an Oscar-nominated film, why not have her present an award too? Anyway, to do some last-minute hustling for The Breadwinner, Jolie and director Nora Twomey did a joint interview with Deadline. Some of the quotes are interesting – you can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights:

Jolie on why she wanted to produce The Breadwinner: “I wanted to work with Nora, and the book was special to my children, so I already knew the story. I have spent a lot of time in Pakistan, Afghanistan, with Afghan people. I have a love and respect for Afghan people, and I thought, “How wonderful that there would be something relatable, like animation, that can tell something as heavy as this story through the eyes of a child, in this unique art form.”

On why she is part of two films, The Breadwinner and First They Killed My Father, about little girls in warzones: “I think the fact that young girls in war are the most vulnerable people on earth.”

Whether those stories are particularly resonant during the #MeToo era: “I think if both of these films maybe highlight anything, it’s not just the vulnerability of women, but that this is not a “today issue.” This has been an issue for a very, very long time. There have been people fighting this battle for a long time, and there are little girls like Parvana, on the border of Myanmar, who are being raped, today, and not enough is being done. Not enough is being spoken about on their behalf. This little girl, Parvana, and what she went through, and the fact that over half the girls in Afghanistan still don’t have an education, and how dangerous their lives are, and how much poverty they live in, also just illustrates the bigger, global problems women are facing.

How she balances life, career & social activism: “I think that’s life, isn’t it? I’m sure you’re the same as a person. You have your creative, and you have your work, and every day of your life is going to be about somehow growing as a person. Somehow feeling you can contribute to the extent that you can get tribute. Nora and I, when we spend time alone, spend most of our time just talking about being moms, and I think that’s the balance. We’re all trying to find balance, as people. I think to be a balanced person, you have to find those things that you just purely enjoy. But, of course, if you aren’t participating in the bigger picture of life, and in being somehow useful, and you aren’t doing something and growing, then really, you’ll find you’re not very happy. Really, you’ll have quite an empty life.

[From Deadline]

I’m already seeing the headlines: “Angelina Jolie SLAMS non-activists as having ‘quite an empty life’.” Or perhaps “Angelina Jolie says if you aren’t balancing kids, a career and social work, you have an empty life.” Is that what she’s really saying though? I don’t think so. I think she was really just saying… everyone feels the push-pull of different things and it’s about finding balance and growing as a person as you move through life instead of living a life of social, professional and personal entropy.

And this: “young girls in war are the most vulnerable people on earth.” God that made me sad. It’s true though.

75th Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

The British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) 2018

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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130 Responses to “Angelina Jolie: If you aren’t being ‘useful’ then ‘you’ll have quite an empty life’”

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  1. LizLemonGotMarried (aka The Hufflepuff Liz Lemon) says:

    Man-“Angelina slams Jen’s empty life” is legit the headline I see coming.

    • LAK says:

      To my shame, that was my initial thought.

      • Lorelai says:


        I feel like the tabloids have turned us into Pavlov’s dogs whenever there is a story about any of the members of “the triangle!” I can’t even control it, my thoughts just go there.

        I’m generally neutral on Angelina, but she comes across as sanctimonious here, IMO.

      • citney says:

        It would not just be JA Angie would be slamming IF she meant the narcissistic HW women. Nine tenths of women celebs only care about how they look, and if JA falls into that category, so be it.

        Personally I think Angie meant ALL people who should be doing more than they do. I really can’t see Angie giving a thought one way or another about JA, that’s so 2005, and Angie certainly doesn’t seem to be the type person who lives in the past.

      • LAK says:

        Citney: i get that, and i didn’t mean to imply that AJ was directing her comments at JA.

        I had that thought simply because JA has roared back into the tabloids with her ‘boring life that has driven her edgy hipster husband away’ headlines.

        The tabloids *would* write that AJ vs JA headline just to sell papers because it gives them an opening to do so. Not that they require any excuses to write about these two ladies.

        It’s how tabloids work and have consistently kept up the connection between these 2 ladies.

    • N. says:

      Well, Jennifer Aniston’s life IS empty and shallow. She’s rich and rarely lands acting jobs these days, she could travel the world or educate herself about human rights, politics, wildlife conservation, charities etc.
      But all she ever talks about is her beauty regime, her hair and her boozing trips to Carbo.

      • Carrie1 says:

        In this time of MeToo, and in light of recent articles about Aniston, I’m not comfortable with criticisms of Jennifer. It sounded like there’s some trauma there and it’s well documented that surviving child abuse and further trauma is a job all it’s own. I never realized this was a possibility about Jennifer before but now, I can see it.

        As for Angelina, I see her point, have said the same myself, and then other people’s life experiences caused a greater understanding and I would never ever say this or think it now. That said, she’s on a PR tour so I’m viewing it as selling herself. I like Angie but she can be a smug ass at times. This is one of those times.

        For the record, I’ve been tracking child abuse and victimization of girls worldwide for a long time also. Child abuse in particular since before high school. I support a few specific causes doing work I can trust internationally and nationally. She’s right to say this about girls, it’s the empty life remark which I’m taking issue with here. It’s offensive.

      • Jussie says:

        Aniston has 2 films and at least 2 seasons of TV coming up. And she just gave half a million dollars to Times Up.

      • Sabrine says:

        People still try and drag Aniston in there somehow. How long ago was that? Give it up already. There is nothing there although you’re doing your best to squeeze blood out of this long dead stone.

      • BostonStrong says:

        In JA’s defense….she is a big supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital…

      • Krill says:

        In todays news, Angelina says a very sensible thing about human nature and a person in comments tries to use it to attack her ex husbands ex wife. Because what is life if you are not brewing conflict between two unrelated women??

        Angelina wasnt saying that if you are not on your way to Syria, you have an empty life. She was saying that we all need to do our part in whatever way we are best equiped. Jen gives A LOT of money and maybe even her time to her causes. And let me tell you, money is the most crucial resource to a non profit.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        She’s raised money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. It’s not like she’s never been involved in a cause.

        …I still don’t understand why JA has to be brought up in EVERY Jolie thread. It’s crazy.

      • citney says:

        Child abuse? Her Mother was disappointed her daughter was not born beautiful, otherwise she and her Mother seemed to get along quite well as she grew up with an absent father.

        The fact her Mother wrote a book and revealed JA almost didn’t have the grades to graduate HS, or the fact she was a child who needed therapy might have something to do with her hating her Mother. These things did not fit into the fictional background JA and Huvane had invented.

        @Tiffany, we all give to St. Jude’s.

      • Cara says:

        Carrie1 Child abuse? How about parent abuse/elder abuse. I am surprised by the amount of people who truly bought Jennifer’s narrative on her mother. Jennifer lived a charmed life growing up and by all accounts was close to her mother until her later teen years. Her mother Nancy raised her on her own as a SINGLE MOM. And what thanks did she get? Her daughter turning on her for no real reason, snubbing her and even ignoring her when she had a stroke. What a spoiled brat. She doesn’t even see her half brother nor the rest of her family, so clearly the problem didn’t lie with Nancy.

        Jennifer only had a problem with Nancy when Nancy did an interview on a tv show about her past life as a model and projects she had going. The tv station edited it and made it mostly about Jennifer. Jen, who should have known better from experience in the industry, did not even give her own mother the chance to explain. Leaving her with the only way she had of telling her side, in a book which was about herself mostly, not Jen. Jen showed her true callous colors after that.

        So many would have loved to have had a nurturing mother like Nancy. Aniston just thought she hit the big time and her mother wasn’t worthy of her.

        The way she treated her mother was absolutely despicable. No two ways about it. Nancy deserved better than Jennifer as a daughter.

    • Sherry says:

      I thought the exact same thing!

    • LizLemonGotMarried (aka The Hufflepuff Liz Lemon) says:

      To be clear-I’m not criticizing Jen. I am just predicting how the tabloids would spins Angelina’s words.

    • vauvert says:

      But why??? If your mind (and others’) first went there, why is that on Angie? Why should Angie censor her every thought and sentence so it cannot be possibly interpreted as a dig at Jenn? First of all, despite her best intentions, I am certain some people will always find someone to interpret it that way no matter how innocuous it was to begin with. Second, it seems to me that Angie has a pretty damn full life; I sincerely doubt she sits around planning verbal “digs” at another woman, whoever she may be. I read it all exactly as she said it – we’re all multi faceted, and balance a lot. Somewhere in that there should be room for giving to us and personal growth, without which it would be a fairly empty life. I see nothing wrong or false in her statement.

      • LizLemonGotMarried (aka The Hufflepuff Liz Lemon) says:

        *raises eyebrows* It was a commentary on the nature of the tabloid culture and the inevitable links that are always drawn between the two of them, nothing more. I said nothing negative about either one.

    • Trixie says:

      I didn’t think that about Aniston, but I thought, “She is right.”
      I have done dog rescue since 2007 and still do some now, and write grants for horse rescues and I find people who have no passion to make the world a better place very sad, and pretty empty. They usually spend a lot of time shopping, decorating, etc.
      JMHO. They may be the sane ones, but I don’t see it that way.

      • Plantpal says:

        know what? Like you Trixie, I’ve worked a lot in dog rescue. And dogs just don’t lie about character. The balanced individuals are the ones my dogs trust most easily; I trust my dogs!
        Anniston was not my first thought. I was still absorbing the tremendous impact of her statement re girls being most vulnerable in war. I hadn’t thought in those terms before. Her statement regarding giving back is a bit smug, cause she leaves no room for relativity. It’s hard to quantify, but sometimes giving a smile when your heart is breaking can be your contribution to helping make the world a better place. To give what one can. She can give huge and publicly. I can give small (tho no less powerful) and privately. When folks are offering something of themselves, outside of themselves, there are many rewards and benefits to the greater good, and fulfilling a need that’s deep in our human DNA at the same time. She said it in less words, which may be why it seems too either/or for some. I’m okay with her encouraging participaction in whatever form it may take.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I regarded her statement naturally as relative. She can’t qualify everything in every statement she makes, but she knows her level of living is not the norm.

        I agree with her statement. It was how our parents raised us. Be useful. Do something with your privilege. Leave some mark on the world that is positive and get involved to help others. They are militant about it and started us young with going along to protests and helping philanthropically. They wanted to make sure we had empathy and gave a damn about the status of everything.
        I admire her for saying this. And she has gone up several notches in my estimation.
        Do nothings irritate me to no end. It doesn’t have to be huge. Just get involved and care.

  2. Maya says:

    She is absolutely right – money or no money, balance is needed when children are involved.

    Angelina is a mother, Director, actress, producer, UN Special Envoy, writer, sister, friend and daughter – if she didn’t learn to balance things then one or more of these roles will suffer.

    The reason I became a mega fan of hers was because she always portrayed strong female characters (heroine or villain). She has also been a badass in real life with her humanitarian work and the fact that she has build several schools in Afghanistan where the Talibans terrorises women/girls who wish to study. She has build schools and medical centres in Africa, almost adopted Cambodia and build schools, medical centres and nature preservation places with her own money.

    Despite being called names because she supposedly stole America’s Sweetheart’s happy ending, she never once let the haters change her direction and work towards helping as many people as she can.

    • Rosalee says:

      Why do feel compelled to toss in Jennifer Aniston’s name into the mix..I work in non-profits, but I don’t point my finger at the cheque signers. We should all contribute, but I don’t judge my sisters for their upper middle class lives, they don’t do my job but when my agency needs something I call them and they donate $$. Aniston contributes in her own don’t slam the cheque signers they are the bread and butter for non-profits.

      • LetItGo says:

        Who’s slamming ‘cheque-signers?’ Certainly not Angelina, since in addition she’s one of those too. Where’s that even coming from? Who’s slamming or even mentioning her? Are you saying Aniston is one (‘cheque signer’) – most celebs are. Lol

      • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

        @Rosalee What are you babbling on about? Did you mean to post this under another comment because Maya is not coming for Jennifer’s neck in anyway. All she called Jennifer was “America’s Sweetheart” and that is all. I am not sure what America she is speaking of as she is nor never was a sweetheart of my America, but that is another story.

        BTW. This triangle has been going on for over a decade. Jennifer has stoked the flames just as much as Angelina and Brad. They will be forever linked because of past actions of all three of them.

        All I will say in rebuttal to Maya is that balance is needed in everyone’s lives, not just if you have children. Some people choose not to have children or get married and live perfectly happy lives. They just have to find a way to be both productive at work and building a life that they would be proud of.

      • Carmen says:

        Sometime while she was still married to Brad or maybe before, some tabloid ran a contest on “vote for America’s sweetheart” or something like that. Aniston won the contest and from the way her fans reacted, you’d think she had been crowned as the Queen of Sheba.

    • Plantpal says:

      nice said, maya

  3. jess1632 says:

    “If your not doing something important what are u really doing then?” Is how AJ sounded imo. Slightly judgy but everything above that was pleasant. Didn’t even know she had an animated film out 🤷‍♂️

    • INeedANap says:

      I don’t think it was judgy because she was non-specific about what “useful” is, and you can be useful by being a parent, by helping a neighbor, by supporting your friends.

      • jess1632 says:

        Good call! It’s really just the last sentence throwing me off “Really, you’ll have quite an empty life.” which still sounds judgy to me but yeah your right it’s non specific so idk what’s definitively implied

      • Lucy2 says:

        I agree- the definition of “useful” is up to you, small or big, whatever works.

    • Josephine says:

      Yea, because suggesting that people be somehow useful is really dastardly stuff. I think she can’t win no matter what she says. Her words here seem completely reasonable. Find something you love in your life and be useful as a human being. Being useful in no way suggests that everyone do something similar to what she’s doing. It can mean standing up for someone at work, making a single person feel decent about themselves today, noticing when someone could use a hand. The small stuff counts, and I don’t think she was suggesting that everyone be a crusader or be considered a loser in life.

    • Tobbs says:

      I read it like you need to find a way to feel useful in life to feel fulfilled in life. Which really I don’t see any lie in that. Feeling useful can mean so many different things to people though. You can feel useful by providing for your family, helping your friends and loved ones. Doing work you find meaningful, which can be everything from working non profit to just chit chat and brighten someone’s day behind a counter in a store. But it is quite common to see that people who don’t feel useful in life often struggles with that fact.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “I read it like you need to find a way to feel useful in life to feel fulfilled in life.”

        yes, THIS. I don’t think she was slamming anyone, just speaking to HER life and that she finds fulfillment that way. what EXACTLY you do is up to you.

      • tracking says:

        Very well said, Tobbs.

      • Trixie says:

        I think she was 100% correct. I see so many people so obsessed with things I find completely absurd or materialistic. It is sad and seems empty. My own mother was this way. Obsessing over clothes on the floor or what’s for dinner, or who didn’t talk to her, over and over and over.
        If you are useful in whatever way you choose, it can definitely give you anxiety (dog rescue did that to me for years) but at the same time, you can feel that you made a difference on this planet – even if just to one old dog about to be euthanized that you got out.
        That is what she meant, I believe.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I read that way too, and I believe in what she said.
        Adopting a pet from a shelter is useful. It doesn’t have to be huge.

    • Nancy says:

      She sounds a bit arrogant with that statement imo. I’m sure all of us would do more if we had her resources. But I digress, I remember a statement someone made, but I don’t recall who… has to have love in their life to make it matter. Not necessarily the love of another, but love gardening, painting, your dog, just have passion. Maybe that’s in the neighborhood of what she was speaking about.

      • jess1632 says:

        I agree wholeheartedly w your last sentiment

      • Lorelai says:

        The comment was particularly grating on me since I have a chronic illness that leaves me quite useless on many days.

        But I understand that’s my issue and that AJ wasn’t purposely slamming anyone. I’m just extremely sensitive about it.

      • Trixie says:

        You don’t need resources to do good in the world. I can think of a dozen ways even someone bedridden can do good: write letters to kids in hospitals, start petitions for good causes, so many ways!!
        We don’t have to change the world at her level to do good – you can foster one dog or cat about to be euthanized and change the world for that animal.

      • april says:

        Lorelai – I’m in the same situation you are in and extremely sensitive too. Actually, working very hard throughout my career is how I ended up with severe chronic fatigue for the past 10 years. After menopause I ended up with acute adrenal dysfunction which caused extreme exhaustion because I lost my hormones and my adrenals couldn’t pick up the slack of producing any hormones, which they should have.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Have you looked into Chronic Lyme Disease? (the lying Hadids aside)
        We take the children to New England, and I was concerned about Lyme disease and fell into a rabbit hole. Then I met someone who had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, adrenal failure, insomnia, arthritis, endocrine issues, depression, anxiety, IBS and fibromyalgia and finally found a doctor who understood Chronic Lyme Disease, not acute and they were totally healed. It took two years but she got her life back. She had parasites too. She had the infection and a bunch of co-infections. Epstein Barr, Chlamydia, Candida and others I forgot the names of. She followed someone’s protocol she said. But basically, she had no life.
        There is information on the internet about it.
        I asked my doctor about it and said it was a real thing and has found similar things with patients with chronic fatigue. They get better with a mix of natural medicine and traditional medicine.

        Hugs. It is all relative. No one expects someone dealing with health issues

      • citney says:


        I don’t feel any arrogance in Angelina’s statement, basically she seems to be saying what has made her a happy person.

        Angie cares about others, she tries to see the good in everyone, never badmouths anyone, (except cruel dictators) ignores all the silly drama the tabloids make up, in fact, she seems to have a have a very wise take on life. Basically, don’t dwell so much on yourself and give back to others.

  4. Magdalene says:

    What she is saying is true but because it’s her saying it, watch people be offended.

    • minx says:


    • LetItGo says:

      …. +1 @magdalene

      The way people react to Jolie, reminds me a lot of how people react to Obama. They literally are the most amiable and diplomatic people around, who’s words are and should be inspiring – but because they are the ones saying it, a few wackadoodles with an already biased agenda will try to take them down, and muddy the message.

      It’s sad.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Yes. And it is true. Meaning and purpose are essential to the good life. We can’t just ‘amuse’ ourselves to death, especially if we’re in positions of being beyond working to survive.

  5. Clare says:

    Where does she even imply that ‘non-activists’ have empty lives? ‘Activists’ (how even are we defining this?) aren’t the only people in the world that are ‘useful’. I kind of agree with her, too – I’ve had periods of my life when I’ve though ‘what AM I doing? I contribute nothing but taxes to society’. But I guess people will do anything to create an ‘Angelina trashes….’ narrative.

    • citney says:

      I’m sure Angelina appreciates every check written by anyone, that’s one of the reasons she does what she does, to bring awareness to refugees and hope for support.

  6. Wisca says:

    I used to not be an AJ fan, but the more I’ve watched her over the years, the deeper my respect has grown for her. She’s pretty remarkable.

    • Clare says:

      Right? I think she’s a mediocre actress and director but a badass WOMAN.

      • LetItGo says:

        Thankfully @Clare,
        Angelina’s industry, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, her acting peers, Critic’s Associations, director’s guild, producer’s guild- I could go on and on and on….ALL disagree with you regarding her chosen profession(s).

      • Kitten says:

        Exactly. Mediocre actress/director but a great woman.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Clare, I agree. TBT, I’d go better than “mediocre”…I think she’s a decent actress who excels in some roles but isn’t a good fit in others. I thought she was amazing in Girl, Interrupted (clearly I’m not the only one) and she was also pretty entertaining as Malificent, but other roles were “meh”.

        but her activism is wonderful and to be admired, for sure.

    • minx says:

      AJ could have just been a privileged Hollywood actress who lunches and gets pedicures. She’s certainly beautiful enough to have made a career as the trophy wife of some actor, studio head or billionaire. She uses what she has for the greater good, and that’s admirable.

  7. Annabelle Bronstein says:

    AJ does this a lot, where she makes quotable sweeping pronouncements that come off… not great. But what I think she means is ‘if I wasn’t useful to others I’d feel empty.’

  8. Chaine says:

    The sentiment/statement is fine and valid but IMO the way she says stuff like this can come off as really patronizing. Lots of people don’t have time to worry about “balance” and “growth” and being creative, they are just trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their kids’ heads. It is her wealth and privilege that gives her the free time to ruminate over how to use her free time most usefully.

    • A Croatian says:

      Thank you. Never liked her just because of this. I respect her, but she really keeps forgetting her privilege in general. And! Her privilege as an exceptionally beautiful woman. #sorrynotsorry

      • Magdalene says:

        If there is one woman in hollywood that never forgets her privileges, it’s Jolie and constantly reminds her peers of their privilege. Come for her or dislike her for other reasons but not for this trumped up excuse.

      • Cara says:

        I don’t understand that. Angelina has consistently advocated for the poor and underprivileged, as well as refugees. If there is one person in Hollywood who isn’t acutely aware of her privileged life, I haven’t seen them. I think you are creating a false narrative as an excuse to dislike her, but even as a false narrative, it is absurd and the very very absolute VERY LAST thing a person can accuse her of.

    • Bunny says:

      Yes. I once asked my mom what her goals were as a child, to which she replied, “I had none.” I’ve never felt more aware of my privilege than in that moment.

      Her heart is right but she’ll never know what’s it like to not be Hollywood royalty.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      This. Quite a few people struggle to simply make it through the day and do not have the luxury to even think about “participating in the bigger picture of life.” Their lives are not empty – they are full of challenges and compromises that independently wealthy celebrities rarely have to face.

    • namasta says:

      She’s born into wealth and privilege!!

    • jess1632 says:

      exactly this! You’re way better w words than I am

    • Josephine says:

      I grew up in a working-class, mostly Catholic neighborhood, and some of the poorest people I knew were also the most giving and the most happy. It doesn’t take a dime to be a decent human being or to participate in something greater than yourself. i work with a group that provides services for low and no-income individuals and her message is an important one. I feel like it’s getting twisted because people are getting defensive. Yes, it’s easier for her to give her time and her money, but so what. I think there is no doubt at all that people feel the most happy and the most content when they contribute, whatever form and how much that might be. Even tiny gestures toward someone else can have a real impact on both that person and yourself. It’s a privilege to give at her level, but all of us have the privilege of thinking beyond ourselves.

      • applepie says:

        @Josephine. Right! It can be giving your time to a charity, giving money, helping a neighbour or even being polite and friendly to a stranger. Your comment is a good way of looking at what you can do as a human. It can be big or small. 😊

      • Wickster says:

        Well said. “Useful” has many permutations. You don’t need money or time to be kind to a hard-working cashier, or help an elderly person across the street (and despite the cliche of this, it is really an important act of kindness). All these make big differences if they make one person feel valued.

      • magnoliarose says:

        It is easier but she doesn’t have to. She chooses to do this.

    • Beth says:

      Yes! Exactly what I was thinking, but didn’t know how to say it. Not all people have the time or ability to do all the ‘useful ‘ things privileged Hollywood royalty do.
      I do volunteer work, but my parents worked so much to support our family, that it left them no time to always be worrying about everyone else. They were unable to have the time to do all that Angie and others do, but in no way did they live empty lives. My parents taking care of our family made their lives busy, but happy, proud, and not empty

    • minx says:

      She can’t undo the privilege that she was born into. That’s the luck of the draw.
      She’s also fortunate to be in a career that lavishly compensates her. She knows that and uses the publicity and money that she receives to help others.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        yup, this. she knows she’s privileged and, perhaps BECAUSE of that, she does what she can to help those who are not.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Truth. She didn’t ask for her parents. That is simply her life.
        She uses her privilege for good. She doesn’t have to.

    • crazydaisy says:

      Remember Thomas the Tank Engine, the cartoon train? His one wish in life was to be useful. Usefulness can be picking up cans to prettify your street corner, caring for stray animals, spending time with an elderly person or any small act of support. Angelina may be in a position to do sweepingly BIG useful things, but everyone, rich or poor, in any situation can find meaning in life by helping others. I find nothing patronizing about her statement. It’s more patronizing to say that people of little means, struggling to make ends meet, do not have the luxury of being able to give back in any way. We all do.

      • Trixie says:

        Amen!!! To believe that poor people aren’t or can’t be useful is amazingly patronizing. We can all be useful. That many choose not to is why so many are defensive here.
        Rather than get defensive, I would think of ONE way I can make the world a better place, even if “only” picking up those cans thrown around on the street. It makes a difference.

    • Enough Already says:

      Putting a roof over your kids’ heads and providing for them is the epitome of being useful and Jolie would agree with this wholeheartedly. You’re just reaching. The fact that she cares so much about her causes despite her privilege should inspire admiration not criticism. If she gave away every penny she has would that make you happy?

    • Alexandria says:

      Chaine, keeping a roof over head(s) and putting food on the table are still meaningful purposes and being useful. Angie did not say being a volunteer or advocate is the only and best way.

    • Trixie says:

      Some of the poorest people I know do the most for others: volunteering at Church, helping a neighbor. You don’t have to be rich to be useful.

  9. littlemissnaughty says:

    Is she even talking about other people or is she using “you” in the general sense referring to what she’s come to realize about her own life?

    And she’s not wrong either way. She has the opportunity to affect change on a larger scale but even if you’re just a good parent or you’re a supportive friend or family member, that’s important. It doesn’t always have to be massive.

    • Annabelle Bronstein says:

      Yes, that’s how I read it too. She got in trouble using the royal “you” when talking about motherhood, if I recall correctly. It can come off a bit over serious and patronizing, tbh.

      • Kelly says:

        She’s usually extremely careful not to say “you” when she’s referring to herself. So it does sound preachy. I wonder why chose that pronoun.

  10. Darla says:

    I don’t think she’s saying you have to be an activist to be useful. We can all be useful. Some of us care for elderly parents, or support family members financially who have hit rough times. (raises hand). I used to be very active politically, these days I am mostly a check writer. I am not at all offended by what she says, she’s right. If you are not doing anything to help others, what really are you doing here?

    I am going to DC to march with those kids on the 24th however. It will be my first march since the W years.

  11. Lucy says:

    She is boring

  12. Mary says:

    No…she is not like most mums! Stop right there.

    • Sky says:


    • Enough Already says:

      You’re right. Most mums only discuss what’s going wrong in the world because they lack the desire, time or resources to do more.

      Apologies to any mums not falling into this category – just tired of Angelina getting getting dragged. For. Everything.

  13. roses says:

    Pretty good interview with her and Nora Twomey at the link. Saw The Breadwinner on Netflix the other night and it was pretty good animated film can see why it was nominated although I think Coco is going to win.

  14. Shannon says:

    If anyone paints it that way, that’s silly of them. Obviously not all of us can do what she does. But I didn’t take it as it even HAS to be activism – just that it’s important to keep growing and not stay static. It could be something big and noteworthy or something as small as reading a different kind of book or practicing a foreign language. At least that’s how I took it.

  15. Anna says:

    I hear just what she is saying and the fact that she puts it out there is important and should never be misconstrued. I think she is courageous and I admire her. I also think that there are problems brewing under the surface…IMO she is lacking balance in caring for her nutritional health.

  16. Adorable says:

    I agree with everything she said.Lately I’ve been asking myself “How am I contributing positively to the world”& recently started volunteering @ our local Hospital,Some How,helping someone else,you forget of your own troubles…..On a superficial note,What a beautiful woman,Her posture while posing,my gosh!

  17. MaryJo says:

    Being useful to others is the meaning of life. 🙂

  18. Wickster says:

    She is absolutely right. And being useful can mean many things, from giving a child encouragement and compassion, to smiling at an elderly person on the street, to calling 911 when you see a homeless person in distress. You can change a life –or at the least a person’s difficult day– with just a kind word or $20 when they have nothing. You don’t have to adopt a child or give $1 million to make a difference. She said nothing about activism being the only way to be useful. And frankly it is refreshing to hear this. Seeing some celebrities flaunt their riches and vacations
    and designer accessories for their kids when so many people–especially women and girls– are in more distress across the world than ever is frankly disturbing. I admire her and she is in a position to change things that others are not. She is using her celebrity for good, unlike many others.

  19. Sofia says:

    Angelina has no idea what it is like to be a working or middle class mother juggling responsibilities all without the assistance of nannies, drivers, private jets, personal assistants and security. I’m not naive enough to think that Angelina lives a charmed life free of struggles but trying to relate to the common people when she is laughable when she doesn’t share their lives.

    • vauvert says:

      What does that have to do with what she said? I know lots of people without her wealth or staff who volunteer, donate, participate and contribute to society in lots of ways… and obviously struggle with all the rest of the common people yet still find ways to grow and learn, and combine a life of work and family and being creative, compassionate and giving. Because she is rich what should she do – just live in a gated community and never get out except for RC premieres? Or never speak out?

    • Wickster says:

      If you had to share the life of everyone struggling, no one would have the platform or money to help the struggling. We need the Bill & Melinda Gates and the Angeline Jolies of the world to shine a light on poverty and illness and human rights abuses, and having resources does not preclude you from fighting for what is right, In fact it facilitates it–IF you choose to use it that way. Most celebrities do not. It iis amazing to me that people shame Jolie while swooning over celebrities who indulge their vapid desires. While Beyonce gives her 6 year old in dresses worth thousands and a Louis Vuitton purse and people swoon over it as if it is cute (it’s not), or Kim Kardashian flaunts her jewels and stock holdings on Instagram, Jolie goes to refugee camps to shine a light that only her celebrity and wealth can facilitate.

      • Sarah says:

        Yes I agree with Wickster. If anything Angelina Jolie (and others like the Gates) give causes and problems a platform and get them into the limelight. This. Is. A. Good. Thing. I know that many people who read the news, who are interested and like to be informed, think “duh of course I know what a refugee camp looks like, thanks Angie”. But to them I would like to point out that soo many others wouldn’t be confronted with any world issues if it weren’t for famous patrons of causes and initiatives. True fact.

      • Mia says:

        Just so you know Beyonce and Jay-Z give a lot and do a lot for charities which help disadvantaged and inner city black kids. You know … trying to make right the historical abuses of blacks in the good old USA because God forbid that country ever acknowledge or make things right. And if they want to give their little girl some material items let them. I swear the “woke” commenters on this site show themselves more and more.

      • magnoliarose says:

        It is annoying when someone slams someone for saying something by adding in some offenses that the person never said.
        She did not say Unless you do it big you are a peasant.
        This is HER way of being useful. A person should find their own way of doing the same.

  20. Sarah says:

    I took it as she said it”if your not growing as a person, you’ll find you’re unhappy & living an empty life”. No where does she judge people. She’s talking about if you don’t evolve in society & learn from it, then you will be unhappy & unhappiness leads to what you feel is an empty life.

  21. Kelly says:

    Personally, I find nothing wrong with Angie’s statement, and I’ve often thought the same thing. But, if someone other than Angie said the same thing – Amal Clooney, for instance – the comments would be filled with vitriol.

  22. Pandy says:

    Well she’s right. In whatever form, you do have to give back somehow.

  23. Leviathan says:

    “Angelina Jolie says if you aren’t balancing kids, a career and social work, you have an empty life.” Is that what she’s really saying though?

    I’m a single parent who works four days a week as a social worker. Yet if I fall into measuring my life by my relationship status I can still feel like my life is empty. Life can’t feel fulfilling all the time. Not for me anyway.

    • Welp says:

      That’s probably why she’s constantly on the move. She doesn’t like that empty feeling.

      She also talks a lot about growing as a person which I like … I like the idea of taking every life lesson and using it to change and grow. You don’t need to be rich to do that lol,

  24. Mickey says:

    That’s a disgusting thing to say. There are a lot of people in this world who don’t have the money, time or health to do “useful” things. And there are also people who do good “useful” things but don’t hang it on the big bell. Good for Jolie that she supports the weaker but she is in no position to judge!

    • Christy says:

      I guess it depends on how you define useful. It didn’t seem like she was saying her chosen activities are the only thing that are useful.

    • Ennie says:

      What a tone deaf statement, AJ actually helps people who are struggling, many times like those you describe. What a way to find offense where there is nothing none. There are many selfish people around, raising more empty headed, eternally bored children uncapable of empathy. Bein g useful is more than doing grand upacale activism, raising good citizens, caring for your neighbor, calling your representative for a good cause, helping an elderly person with their bags, so many examples. Angelina said it, so let’s attack the messenger even if the message is clear.

  25. Aubrey says:

    it’s preachy.

  26. Sara says:

    I feel she is more speaking to the people of her stature that aren’t stepping up to the plate. I think this may be a passive aggressive comment toward Pitt and I love it.

    • magnoliarose says:

      No she isn’t. He is very generous and giving and has been long before they married. He made JA become more active. She is not slamming him. He is philanthropic and was part of his attraction to her.

      She is able to talk about her views without there being some other reason for it.

      • Sasha says:

        PREACH. It amazes me how so many passive-aggressively attach everything Angelina says toward Pitt, Aniston or anyone else.
        Maybe, just maybe she’s capable of independent thought, notwithstanding.

    • Welp says:

      Perhaps it is an i do love it too. What happened to his charity work? Lol his Gq interview was MEE ME ME

  27. Jossy says:

    She has no idea what normal is.

  28. Welp says:

    I think she was saying HER life would be empty. I remember old interviews where she questions why she has the spotlight when so much is happening in the world. It’s great to see she’s shinning her spotlight on other issues. If you’ve followed her career from early on you know if she didn’t find humanitarian work she would probably not be with us now. It saved her. I believe that as dramatic as it sounds. Lol

    I feel like a lot of the younger generation actresses are following that same way of thinking.

  29. Sarah says:

    Went and read the actual interview in context. She is clearly talking about herself and her life.

  30. mkyarwood says:

    She’s right. Someone else will do it, not in my backyard, and other ‘whatever, I can do what I want’ mentalities are what makes this world broken. I had such motivation to be helpful, as a child, was aware of the social conversation surrounding the issues of the 90’s, including pollution and war. But the response of the adults around me? “It doesn’t matter. You’ll be dead before anything you do matters, so throw shit everywhere and let everyone fight as long as you keep to yourself. And get a job. And make money.’ So, with those basic ideas in mind, any interest in being ‘of use’ fell by the wayside. Until I had my own kid.