Part of complete coverage on
Five reasons we love Angelina Jolie
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Angelina Jolie, pictured here at the 84th Academy Awards, is one of the most celebrated Hollywood actors of all time. Not content with conquering the big screen, her work in recent years with the United Nations has elevated her into a global role model.
Reasons to love Angelina Jolie
Impressive humanitarian work
Not just an observer
Jolie's efforts with the UNHCR
Hollywood's leading lady
Behind the camera
Influential diplomatic personality
- Angelina Jolie has demonstrated courage going public about her mastectomy
- The actress chose to undergo preventative surgery
- In recent years she has become increasingly well known for her humanitarian work
Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time -- remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more.
(CNN) -- After Angelina Jolie made the surprise announcement on Tuesday of having undergone a preventative double mastectomy, the world stood in awe of her brave move and willingness to share her story. Now hailed an inspiration to other women, CNN examines what makes us love the Oscar-winning actress turned humanitarian.
1. Demonstrating courage
Angelina Jolie has never been afraid to express herself, emotionally or artistically. Her decision to publicly announce her preventative surgery so other women could benefit from her experience shows bravery and an overwhelming desire to help others.
Read: Jolie undergoes double mastectomy
Angelina Jolie reveals double mastectomy
CNN archives: Jolie on her mom's cancer
Explaining Jolie's cancer gene
Jolie: 'I've decided to be proactive'
She has gone against her own public image and challenged the perception of a woman's identity by choosing to speak up about her operation. Even more powerful, her global reach may influence millions of women to proactively look after themselves.
2. Humanitarian efforts
It has become Jolie's mission to provide a voice for people whose lives have been ravaged by war and natural disasters.
In short, she has turned her celebrity status into a force for good. She has personally donated more than $5 million to the UNHCR since 2001. In addition to her appointment as UN Special Envoy to Refugees, the actress has set up the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation dedicated to conservation, education and healthcare in Cambodia.
Read: Hollywood reacts to Jolie surgery
3. Transcending stereotypes
Jolie refuses to fit a certain mold and proves that women can be daring and independent, and at the same time caring and altruistic. She is a loving mother of six campaigning tirelessly for women and children across the globe, but she is also an Oscar-winning Hollywood actress.
The actress has redefined what it means to be a humanitarian.
4. Cinematic talent
From her award-winning portrayal of a mentally unstable woman in "Girl, Interrupted" to starring in the "Lara Croft" series, Jolie has steered clear of typecasting and has not shied away from theatrical risk.
Read: Jolie's brave message
In the last decade, she has steered her career in a serious and meaningful direction, starring in films such as "Changeling," as a distraught mother looking for her son, and "A Mighty Heart," playing the role of Mariane Pearl, wife of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl who was, in 2002, abducted and killed in Pakistan.
In 2011, she made her directorial debut with "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a film about the Bosnian War.
5. From celebrity to icon
Jolie has emerged as a woman who is not afraid to make mistakes. She has made the ultimate transition -- from Hollywood starlet to global ambassador and in turn, has become an icon of female empowerment, strength and independence along the way.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
Robots can be many things -- knowledgeable, dexterous, strong. But can they ever be genuinely laugh-out-loud hilarious?
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1830 GMT (0230 HKT)
Victoria Beckham has come a long way from Posh Spice. She has now been named Britain's top entrepreneur, by magazine Management Today.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1447 GMT (2247 HKT)
Just one in seven engineers are female. STEM experts share their ideas on how to get more girls into the industry.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
In 2006 she sold her business to Estée Lauder in a reported multi-million dollar deal, five years later she started a brand new company.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
Some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs have come from women, though like so many inventors their names are lost in the pages of history.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
Leading Women hosted a Twitter Chat celebrating girls in science with guests including race car drivers, software developers and coders.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
There's a fine science to running a billion dollar company. Rosalind Brewer should know -- she used to study chemistry.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Join our twitter chat @CNNIwomen on October 9 at 5pm GMT/12pm EST and look for #CNNwomen #IDG14.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
STEM experts from Marissa Mayer to Weili Dai share their thoughts to celebrate International Day of the Girl.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)
When it comes to buildings, they don't come much different than a mosque and a nightclub.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen -- or so the saying goes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
These 12 fashion experts have millions of followers, but who is the most social woman in fashion?