Angelina Jolie Attends UNHCR Press Conference

Angelina Jolie reveals the life-changing experience that caused her to dry her tears

An encounter with a struggling grandmother made her intent on channeling her emotions into action

Angelina Jolieisnot just renowned for her filmmaking and acting talent, old school Hollywood glamour and high-profile relationship with ex-husband Brad Pitt, but also for her humanitarian work around the globe. In her role as TIME contributing editor, the star took the opportunity to address trauma and coping strategies during these stressful COVID-19 pandemic times as she interviewed Dr Nadine Burke Harris, Surgeon General of California. But it was Dr Burke Harris who turned the tables on Angelina to find out why she became so interested in helping others and what her own self care strategies are.

Angelina Jolie and Dr Nadine Burke Harris©Time
California Surgeon General Dr Nadine Burke Harris wanted to know how Angelina coped with the harrowing scenes she’d witnessed

“Well that’s a very nice question,” Angelina responded. “There was a time in my life when I became more aware of what was happening around the world and I hoped that I could be useful. I really can’t think what else life is about other than trying to be useful.” She then explained that the horrors she witnessed on her travels with the UN – she is Special Envoy of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees – initially affected her so much that she would journal frantically in an effort to hide her tears.

Then, one day, she was with a grandmother who was caring for all of her grandchildren since her own children had been killed. The woman noticed that Angelina was crying. “I don’t need you to cry. I need you to help me,” the grandmother said to the A Mighty Heart star. And it was that moment that jarred Angelina to channel her emotion into action. “I’m very lucky that I can talk to people like you and try to get things to move forward,” she told Dr Burke Harris.

The conversation also revolved around how to cope during the coronavirus lockdown with Dr Burke Harris highlighting the importance of exercising, good nutrition, sleep and mindfulness. Angelina responded to the suggestions with: “I’m going to try and do as many of these as possible but I’m terrible!”

It’s kind of reassuring to learn that someone who seems to have it all also is struggling to keep up with healthy habits in day-to-day lockdown life!

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