Angelina Jolie was in Cambodia this week to present First They Killed My Father. As mentioned last week, King Norodom Sihamoni attended the event and met with Angelina and all 6 of her children. Maddox spoke at the screening. And then he introduced his “little sister” Shiloh who said a few words in Khmer.
Translation: “My name is Shiloh and I love Cambodia.”
These kids are clearly pretty close and loving of one another. And, obviously, of their mother. Which, undeniably, is a good look. And this is particularly interesting because last week there was reporting coming out of Page Six about how Angelina was looking to hire a new PR specialist to help her with her image.
In terms of image management, there’s not much better you can do than this appearance in Cambodia. But she also gave an interview to the BBC, her first interview since World War Brange, during which she discussed her relationship to Cambodia and how she’s coping with the divorce, after a point blank question about “the incident” that precipitated it:
The BBC is good choice. It’s a respected news outlet with the reach to make sure her comments get out there with the intended purpose. Also there’s the Arminka Helic-Chloe Dalton connection. They’re the two women who’ve been part of Angelina’s inner circle and they’re both based in the UK. So while they may not have the experience in handling American media, they certainly would have experience working with the BBC, critical in this case because in these times, it would not have been a good idea for Angelina to be dictating what she would and wouldn’t talk about the way celebrities typically operate at a typical junket. So it’s not that the question was scripted, it’s where it was coming from and in what context. From a PR perspective then, it was a matter of choosing the outlet and a journalist she would trust – and Angelina can take it from there.
Back in the US though, the preferred narrative is still Angelina Sucks. Page Six just published an article yesterday about how “Angelina may have the kids but Brad has custody of Hollywood”. Basically, everyone in Hollywood hates her and only tolerated her when she was with Brad out of respect for him but now that they’re not together anymore no one wants her at their lunch table. That’s pretty much how it reads. Effective, to a point. If they were playing the same game. But it kinda takes the punch out of the piece when a few hours later she’s doing an interview with the BBC –and not Vanity Fair or PEOPLE or even The Today Show – about making a film in Cambodia and moving through a difficult year as a family, stressing that they will always be a family.
It has never been part of Angelina Jolie’s brand to be inside-Hollywood. In fact, it’s almost always been part of her brand to present as a Hollywood outsider, despite the fact that she is one of the most famous movie stars on the planet. These visuals of her surrounded by her kids, of her kids gathered together as one seemingly tight unit, and then this interview of her getting emotional while talking about her film and her family – it’s a much stronger statement, and the strongest PR move she’s made in a while, without a proper Hollywood PR specialist.
STR/ AFP/ Omar Havana/ Getty Images