Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has always been proactive about social issues like human rights, poverty and racial discrimination. Recently, she made news for openly accusing Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein for making unwanted advances towards her in the 1990's. Now, she has penned a heartfelt open letter for Harper's Bazaar about her love for Namibia and posed for a photoshoot with three orphaned cheetahs that she helped rescue in 2015.
As noted by People.com, Angelina Jolie wrote an open letter from Namibia on the eve of Harper's Bazaar's 150th anniversary. In the letter, she talked about women's rights and stressed on the need for humans to help each other and protect the environment. She mentioned how in the early 19th century, the ivory craze, in addition to deforestation and increasing demands for products from wild animals, has led to many species losing their habitats and being endangered today.
Jolie, who separated from husband Brad Pitt, shot for a pictorial at the N/a'an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia, which is run by her friends Marlice and Rudie van Vuuren. In the photos, she posed with the three cheetahs she had helped rescue in 2015 after they were orphaned. "N/a'an ku sê works to preserve the natural habitat and to protect endangered species, such as elephants, rhinos, and cheetahs, like the ones pictured in this story," she said. The N/a'an ku sê foundation named one of the cubs after Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's biological daughter, currently undergoing hormonal transformation to change her gender to a boy. The other two cubs were named Wonder and Odyssey.
About the three Cheetahs, Jolie wrote, "I first encountered them in 2015, when they were small cubs and our family sponsored them. They'd been orphaned, and nearly died. They were nursed back to health, but they cannot be returned to the wild, as they have lost their fear of humans and could be killed if they stray onto farmland. With cheetah numbers plummeting to fewer than 7,100 worldwide, the mission is to save every animal possible."
She continued, "These cheetahs are not pets, nor should any wild animal ever be kept as one. They inspire us to help preserve these unique, majestic creatures in the wild, as just one of many steps to preserve the environment for future generations." Jolie also added, "Each of us has the power to make an impact through our everyday choices. For instance, we can commit to never buying illegal wildlife products such as ivory or rhino horn."
She also highlighted that it is the duty of fashion magazines to raise awareness about the plight of animals, especially the fact that many wild animals are killed for leather and fur. "Fashion was once a major factor in encouraging the demand for clothes, jewellery, and objects made from wildlife parts. But magazines can now send a different message: that wild animals belong in the wild, and that ivory is not beautiful unless on the tusk of a living animal," she said.
Jolie finished her letter by saying that everything ultimately depends on us. How we choose to act will make a world of difference, especially for our future generations. Reminding us that we have a choice, she said, "If my life experience has taught me anything, it is that what you stand for, and what you choose to stand against, is what defines you. As the San people say, 'You are never lost if you can see your path to the horizon.'"
Watch the official video from Harper's Bazaar below.