Angelina Jolie has despatched me a film. It begins with a gentle pan throughout a cluster of conical crops resembling Marge Simpson’s beehive, an azure sky behind it, and the sound of gently trickling water. Just a few bees dip out and in of body, and the digicam slowly zooms in on one notably fats specimen, its decrease physique curling within the blossom. The 16-second movie was shot by the director/actress on location at her backyard in California, and options one in every of her lesser-known ardour initiatives.
Earlier than she despatched me the film, Jolie and I had been speaking about her function as Guerlain’s Godmother of the Girls for Bees Program (sure, that’s her official title). Over Zoom, one of the well-known girls on the planet (and new trend entrepreneur with Atelier Jolie) kind of seems like us. Her WFH setup is austere—a clean white wall, a black rolling workplace chair—and she or he’s critical, but enthusiastic, as she describes this system, a three way partnership between Guerlain and UNESCO that focuses on selling feminine beekeeping entrepreneurship and is now in its third 12 months. Bees and honey are central to lots of Guerlain’s signature merchandise, together with its Abeille Royale skincare line. By the Girls for Bees initiative, Jolie travels on a yearly mission journey, most not too long ago to the Yucatán Peninsula, the place the Melipona beecheii, a kind of bee sacred to historic Mayan civilization, is threatened with extinction. Right here, she talks about her model of self-care, being a change agent, and the way we can assist help and protect the world’s bee inhabitants.
On her attraction towards bees
“I’ve all the time preferred bees. I’ve by no means had a concern of bees, and I’m not allergic. I are inclined to lean towards the creatures on the planet which can be a bit bit misunderstood. However I’ve grown in my admiration and respect for these lovely little creatures through the years, as I’ve gotten to know extra about their significance—the best way they exist in group and what they contribute to our lives.
[I learned more about bees] in Cambodia. I’ve a house and a challenge [through the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation] the place I’ve been working with communities, and taking care of the forests and the safety of land and wildlife for over 20 years. I began it a very long time in the past in a spot in Samlout, which was the primary and final stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. It was a really closely mined space on the border of Thailand. My son [Maddox] is Cambodian, and initially I believed that I might work on this space on de-mining, and study a bit concerning the native individuals. I hoped to contribute in a great way and simply be a great neighbor. Then I realized extra about deforestation and the threats to the atmosphere. Now the challenge has grown, and we’re working with the rangers and the safety teams to higher perceive what it means because it pertains to biodiversity. What’s in peril? While you dwell hand in hand with the native farmers, you study that bees are important to pollinating. [Beekeeping] is an excellent ability and livelihood for lots of the farmers we work with.”
On bee missions
“Not too long ago, we had been with the Mayan girls within the Santa Clara group. While you talk about pollination and biodiversity, it in a short time ties to a tradition of individuals, a historical past. Mayan communities have hives, they usually use the honey for medicinal functions, for magnificence, and as a meals. My job is to be part of the coaching, and to deliver individuals collectively and to take part and assist help it. Typically, it’s working to get an schooling myself on the cultural heritage, the group, and the atmosphere, and likewise to coach others on what I’m studying. I additionally get to work on coaching with little youngsters, and we get to speak about bees and do ‘bee faculty.’ It’s great.”
On private beekeeping
“I do bee-keep at our residence in Cambodia. In Los Angeles, I’ve tailored my backyard for the bees, with flowers and crops which can be wealthy in pollen and nectar.”
On what people can do to assist the bee disaster
“Consciousness is the very first thing. We must always educate ourselves about what is going on, and the seriousness of the decline. Then you can begin to query what’s inflicting it. There are totally different features that may be fought for, like the consequences of pesticides. We might be extra accountable in how we eat and what we buy. Anyone can discover their method into it. It can be a enjoyable challenge like [setting up] a beehive, or standing up in opposition to the destruction to the atmosphere. We met these lovely native communities in Mexico. We will help them by ensuring that the forests round them are protected. In the event that they make a product, we will buy from them straight. We now have to pay attention to our shifting world and what’s necessary—not that we ought to be in opposition to progress. However we have now to grasp what we’re dropping and what’s at stake.”
On making extra aware way of life adjustments
“I believe many individuals [recognize all the risks to our environment]. It’s a bit overwhelming, and other people nearly don’t know what to do, and the best way to maintain present or dwelling. A whole lot of strain might be on the buyer, however it must also be on these larger firms and governments, and taking a look at what they’re selecting to guard, and what they’re promoting off and permitting to be destroyed. A whole lot of governments and large companies on the planet could make each particular person individual really feel like that is all their fault. There are some massive choices that the worldwide group and governments may make that will make the most important change. We will all do our half, however they should do theirs, they usually should be held accountable. Lots of people challenge that we have now 10 years, and we both reverse course or wind up in a really critical state the place numerous the harm performed to the atmosphere is irreversible. It’s to not scare everybody, however that is the truth of what we’re dwelling with.”
Her recommendation for anybody eager to make a change
“Like all people, I’m looking to seek out the stability and to dwell via these occasions. You’ll be able to’t be an professional on every little thing. Discover what you’re obsessed with, what you attempt to help and defend, after which do good the place you’ll be able to. For me, numerous it’s for the atmosphere, however my coronary heart is usually for the individuals in these communities. I’ve labored with refugees for years. Lots of people are displaced as a result of they’re unable to dwell within the land that they’re from, to farm and feed themselves, or to guard their very own pure assets. I want to encourage all people to consider the communities, the Mayan girls and others, and discover methods to help and to respect them, with all of the work they’re doing that advantages all of us.”
“It’s not the middle of my day. However I believe schooling is a vital a part of self-care. That’s the place I’m happiest. If I really feel that I’ve enriched my thoughts or a relationship with any person via one thing I’ve realized or skilled, then I really feel that I’m rising. For me personally, I don’t get up and have an actual self-care agenda, like what is usually thought of self-care as we speak. I believe it’s great for individuals who can do this or if that’s their method. Everyone has their very own model. I prefer to really feel like I’m rising emotionally or intellectually—that’s my self-care. So I suppose I do [it], however it’s not a lot a face cream.”
A model of this story seems within the August 2023 concern of ELLE.
ELLE Magnificence Director
Kathleen Hou is ELLE”s Magnificence Director. Beforehand, she held the identical title at New York Journal’s The Reduce. She’s appeared in publications such as New York, The New York Instances Journal, Vogue India, Forbes, and Attract. She was additionally a co-founder of Donate Magnificence, a grassroots magnificence donation challenge began in the course of the COVID-19 disaster, which donated over 500,000 merchandise to over 30,000 healthcare employees throughout 500+ hospitals.