Angelina Jolie knows her stuff, but some other Hollywood names may not.
In a recent Guardian article, an unnamed aid worker relates horror stories of celebrities rushing to war-torn or disaster-torn areas of the world, bent on using their name and reach to help draw attention to the plight of the locals in need.
Jolie has been appointed as Special Envoy of UN High Commission for Refugees. Prior to that, Jolie had made “more than 40 field visits around the world, becoming well-versed in the phenomenon of forced displacement and a tireless advocate on their behalf.”
Sometimes other celebrity visits end up causing more trouble than some aid workers think they are worth. The worker relates the travails of “spending hours tracking down European bottled mineral water for a British soap actress for every stage of her African tour.”
In some cases, the visits from A-list celebs created such a fuss that it put the aid workers there in worse conditions than before. One example was when Christina Aguilera visited Haiti.
“In Haiti, in the UN base where most of the first responders lived, one agency outraged the entire base by taking over the only air conditioned tent – in which some slept due to the sauna-like conditions in the accommodation area – to host a cocktail reception for Christina Aguilera.”
I respect Angelina Jolie. Unlike other female celebrities this women invests her time and money into charity work and other humanitarian aid
— Maʊɡli (@AshLily19) February 10, 2014
While Sean Penn and Matt Damon were given the “meh” treatment by aid workers, Angelina Jolie is praised highly.
“She knew more about refugees, and had been to more places than I had,” one worker said of Jolie. “She had her own cameraman, so all I had to do was find the locations and the refugees.” Another said: “I was impressed with her in Haiti, in Jordan and in Sri Lanka. She left experts speechless every time.”
Angelina Jolie has spoken before the U.N. regarding the plight of Syrians, drawing from her personal experiences there.
“I wish that some of the Syrians I have met could be here today,” Jolie told the U.N last year. “Any one of the Syrians I have met would speak more eloquently about the conflict than I ever could. Nearly four million Syrian refugees are victims of a conflict they have no part in. Yet they are stigmatized, unwanted, and regarded as a burden.”
The only celebrity that I respect their humanitarian work is Angelina Jolie
— ｋａｒａｌ (@thebookofstyles) July 3, 2015
Another celeb praised by workers is David Beckham. He did not ask for hard-to-get bottled water brands or specific clothing items. He only wanted to play soccer with local kids for an evening.