Angelina Jolie has won multiple awards for her film roles, survived a highly publicized marriage to Brad Pitt, and continues to mother six kids. But until recently, there’s one experience Jolie never had, and that’s taking a seat at a fashion show. Now Angelina can check off watching a fashion show from her bucket list, reported Harper’s Bazaar.
“In all her years as an Academy Award–winning actress and director, Angelina Jolie — the most glamorous woman on the planet —never went to a fashion show.”
Candid about never attending fashion shows until last June, Jolie also shared that she took a front row seat at her first show. But the one that Angelina selected as her debut experience was very different from the typical New York Fashion Week or Paris runway celebration. In her role as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Special Envoy, Jolie visited a refugee shelter in Nairobi, Kenya, last summer.
Angelina Jolie Applauds A Very Different Kind Of Runway
At the shelter, Angelina experienced “my kind of runway,” she said. The fashion show featured “the most beautiful girls, survivors with their heads held high,” added Jolie. The women on the runway showcased their culture and designs.
“[The fashion show models showed] how it’s possible to find your femininity again after it has been brutally attacked.”
The mom of Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Vivienne, Knox, and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt headed to the shelter on World Refugee Day. The haven, headed up by RefuSHE, focuses on attending to the needs of young women ages 13 to 23 who are seeking shelter from countries torn by war such as Somalia and South Sudan.
The women who mingled with Jolie had either seen their parents killed or been separated from their families. Most of them had experienced sexual violence, and Angelina also revealed that some had welcomed babies into the world after being raped. The shelter offers counseling and education, as well as hope for their future.
Angelina Jolie Joins Fashion Show Audience In Dancing With Models
By instructing the girls and young women on the art of resist-dyeing to craft scarves, the refugees learn a talent that can help them to seek independence financially. All of the money from the scarves goes back into the program and its artists. Almost 70 percent of the women have achieved the goal of financial independence since 2010. Jolie praised the fashion show participants.
“I thought the girls represented their culture and their craft in a way that was so impressive.”
At the end of the runway show, the entire audience stood up and joined the models in dancing. Angelina described the models as “women in full” for their courage in surviving and seeking to move on with their lives.
Jolie hopes that the scarves-crafting project is “just the beginning” of providing such refugees with a financial future. The UNHCR initiative MADE51 focuses on providing access to the marketplace for refugee artisans, with projects such as beaded bags and baskets expanding in different countries.
“Nobody wants to be a refugee or to live on aid,” added Angelina. “They want to lead dignified, useful lives, like any of us.”