Angelina Jolie is opening up about raising her daughters to “develop their minds” instead of focusing on their appearances in a moving essay about women unfairly maligned in history.
The actress and philanthropist shared the advice she gives to her kids in the latest issue of Elle magazine, reminding them that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
“I often tell my daughters that the most important thing they can do is to develop their minds,” Jolie writes in the essay. “You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn’t matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn’t strong.”
“There is nothing more attractive — you might even say enchanting — than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions,” she continued.
The 44-year-old star is a mom to six children ― Maddox, 18, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, and 11-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne. She shares custody with ex-husband Brad Pitt, whom she filed for divorce from in Sept. 2016.
The actress also mentions her sons, writing that she “could not be prouder” of “the men they are becoming, the way they respect their sisters and are respected by them.”
While Jolie shares intimate details about how she raises her children, the essay is largely concerned with the legacy of women whom Jolie affectionately dubs as “wicked.” She recontextualizes women who have been punished for defying societal expectations, a fate she says she might’ve suffered had she been born under different circumstances.
“Women who rebel against what is considered normal by society—even unintentionally—have been labeled as unnatural, weird, wicked, and dangerous,” she writes. “Wicked women are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse. Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don’t believe are best for themselves or their families.”
“Women could be accused of witchcraft for having an independent sex life, for speaking their mind on politics or religion, or for dressing differently,” she continued, noting the injustices she’s witnessed in her work advocating for refugees around the world. “Had I lived in earlier times, I could have been burnt at the stake many times over for simply being myself.”
While Jolie has stayed under the radar since her contentious split with Pitt, she’s continued to step out more frequently with her kids in recent months, attending the “Dumbo” premiere in March with her youngest children after bringing the entire family to a screening the month before.
The actress is set to celebrate a major milestone later this year as the eldest of the Jolie-Pitt clan, Maddox, will reportedly attend South Korea’s Yonsei University where he’ll be studying biochemistry.
Jolie previously told People that she was “nothing but proud” of her college-bound son, explaining that she will “look forward to all he will do.”
The Oscar winner, meanwhile, is returning to the big screen in a slew of high-profile projects after a break from acting, including the upcoming sequel to “Maleficent” and her first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thena in the highly anticipated superhero film “The Eternals.”