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Why I wanted to interview Angelina Jolie

February 15th, 2010
11:08 PM ET

Angelina Jolie puts her money where her mouth is, in terms of care and concern and in terms of people in crisis beyond the United States.

I interviewed her, not as a celebrity. Everyone wanted me to ask her about Brad Pitt, but I interviewed her because she was bringing her unique star power to Haiti and I wanted to know how and whether she was going to use that star power to mobilize real power on behalf of Haiti.

I was gratified that so many people said to me they had never seen this side of Angelina.

She arrived with no hair and make up, but beyond that had a command of the issue and obviously deeply cared.

To watch the podcast of my interview with Angelina Jolie from Haiti, click here: or to watch the episode directly click here.

Filed under:  1 • Haiti
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Guest

    I am surprised that no one has seen this side of Angelina before – she has given multiple interviews to CNN before all with the same caring attitude.

    I am wondering now – has Angelina's unique star power made a difference to Haiti. Since her visit have donations gone up? Has the living arrangements of the people in Haitit changed? Has her visit changed the policies and actions of any government? What has changed since her visit?

    I would love a follow-up on your site in about 6 months time to address how Angelina mobilized real power on behalf of Haiti. What concerns me is that we never here follow up reports. Brad and Angie went to Pakistian – with CNN following – 4 years ago following an earthquake there. What did there visit accomplish? Were they able to mobilize power there? Did there visit change anything?

    I think it is wonderful that celebrities give money and put their money where their mouth is (Giselle 1.5 million, etc) however I don't really think that stars should play in the polictical arena – in all honesty their visits made little difference except to become a PR event.

    Please get back to us on this issue in a few months time and tell us how Angelina has mobilized real power – I would love to know.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:53 am | Reply
  2. Andrew

    Ms Amanpour I have a lot of respect for you and thanks for the interview. Many of her fans know very well this side of Jolie. It's many years that she gives money and time to questions she takes at heart. Too many live on what the tabloids write and you did well not formulating private questions that had nothing to do with the reason she was there in Haiti.

    February 16, 2010 at 1:09 am | Reply
  3. Andrew

    For the guest ... you have already given yourself away. You came to criticize Angelina so stop hiding under the sheep cover. I wonder if you even try chaging things. At least she puts the effort.

    February 16, 2010 at 1:29 am | Reply
  4. cj

    Thank you very much for the great interview! I thought real journalism had died and gone into the toilet, but I was wrong. Keep up the good work.

    February 16, 2010 at 1:31 am | Reply
  5. cj

    I would also like to see a follow up interview to see what difference Ms Jolie's visit has made. Thank you.

    February 16, 2010 at 1:36 am | Reply
  6. June Morgan

    After reading your post above, it's kind of sad that the powers that be at CNN felt that the promo for this very informative interview had to be the tabloid spin of Haitian adoption which was picked up all over the internet to shed a bad light on Miss Jolie.

    February 16, 2010 at 1:36 am | Reply
  7. Janet

    I thought your question about whether or not Jolie and Pitt plan to adopt a Haitian child was inappropriate. Beside the fact that their plans to expand their family are nobody else's business, some simple research would have made the question moot. Unmarried couples are not allowed to adopt in Haiti.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:18 am | Reply
  8. Jamie

    Having a celebrity like Angelina helps draw people in who would otherwise not listen to a discussion about, among others, orphans and amputees. As the press statements from the UN clearly state, the visits are meant primarily to draw attention to these problems which otherwise would be easily ignored or forgotten. In her interview, Angelina effectively focused attention on the need to give Haiti time to reunite families before considering adoptions and the long term needs of child amputees. These alone already make the visit and interview effective and worthwhile since getting that information out is difficult in the crowded news market.

    February 16, 2010 at 2:37 am | Reply
  9. Sam

    Angelina's primary purpose, and that which the UN itself highlights, is to use the media attention which follows celebrities like her in order to highlight difficult problems. She did not make a telethon-like plea for donations nor sought to sway specific government policy. When the ad for this interview appeared quoting Jolie about holding off adoptions in Haiti, it generated so many posts around the web that obviously that objective was easily met.
    What else does Angelina's visits and interviews accomplish? On one level it draws in people who normally would just be watching Showbiz Tonight to sit through Amanpour and gain an understanding of the problems. On another it buoys the spirits of the volunteers and the locals who rushed to meet her and take photos of or with her. And lastly it gives organizations like MSF and SOS free publicity which would otherwise cost millions to obtain.
    The public stops to look and listen because they see a familiar face and ultimately they end up learning a bit more about the problems. This is what Celebrity involvement is all about. Anything beyond this is a bonus.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:24 am | Reply
  10. Goya

    How would CNN prove to you that their coverage of Angie and Brad [or Sean Penn or Harrison Ford] raises awareness and donations to situations like Katrina, Afghanistan, displacement of civilians in Iraq, earthquake victims in Pakistan, Haitian poverty (incidentally this was not AJ's first visit to the region). It sounds like you have already made up your mind Guest.

    Angie doesn't get involved in politics and it is revolting that someone considers the earthquake in Haiti as a "political arena." How does CNN talking to Angie cause you a problem? How is it a problem at all? It seem very clear you didn't listen to the interview.

    February 16, 2010 at 4:00 am | Reply
  11. Verra

    Thank-you CA for the tone which you set for the interview, as a news worthy interview and not as a movie star fluff interview. Those kinds of interviews seem to assume that the interviewee brings nothing but their celebrity status to the interview. Your approach gave Angelina the opportunity to do what those of us who have followed her humanitarian work already know about her: intelligent, prepared, articulate and compassionate.

    Also, I think the broader perspective is that she prepared herself, not for an interview, per se, but to be able to better ascertain the circumstances on the ground in Haiti so that she is better prepare to provide input in various forums, for future strategic approaches to long term solutions for Haiti/

    February 16, 2010 at 5:26 am | Reply
  12. Fernando F.

    Angelina Jolie is a wonderful and concern human being. Period.
    It happens to be that she is an actress.
    I wish Politicians were more like her. Usually they use their fame for their own personal gain. Angelina is giving her time and money for noble causes. Something the World needs a lot off.

    February 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  13. Tess

    What I am starting to wonder about is where does all this hate towards AJ comes from?
    Why is this interview even questioned?
    She does positive things that deserves respect. PERIOD.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  14. Rooha Ghaznavi

    Respect for Jolie, she was in Pakistan too when the earthquake struck.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  15. binet

    Why can't she just do good things and shut up about it already? Countless actresses have worked with the UN and donated millions of their own money to good causes, without having a PR company working overtime to make them out to be the next Mother Theresa. We don't hear so much about them because they don't turn every charitable act into a personal photo op. Enough with the celebrity worship.

    February 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  16. ibs

    i do not know what he meant by "real" power being mobilized.

    if AJ mobilized a few musicians to do a mini-concert and assuage the restless souls of the people who got hit by the tragedy, isn't that power enough? what would it take for AJ's effort to be recognized?

    at least the effort was there. and this, i agree, is what celebrity involvement is all about, people take a look and inadvertently pick bits to understand the situation. the job is almost accomplished at that point. the decision to help or not falls entirely on the viewer, to help or not help as per AJ's talk.

    February 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Reply
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