Angelina Jolie was a "ridiculous crying mess" during her first United Nations trip.
The actress is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN and has travelled to many Third World countries around the world. Angelina admits her early travels turned her into a sobbing wreck, as she met with people dealing with war, poverty and illness.
"My first trip out changed me completely. When I first travelled, I was just a ridiculous crying mess. And maybe there was a moment when I realised I was crying more than the people who had suffered a lot more than me. I think that's the thing you realise," she said in an interview with Total Film. "These people have had their families killed, had their houses burnt down, become stateless - they're not crying, because they don't have time for it, and I'm not helping them by just feeling for them. I had to stay practical and focused."
Angelina was advised to process her emotions by keeping a journal. The 37-year-old beauty found it therapeutic to write about her experiences and excerpts were later released as the book Notes From My Travels.
"When I went into the field for the first time, somebody said to me, 'You're going to come back and have extreme feelings, and you're not going to be able to talk to your husband about it, or your mom, because they weren't there… so keep a journal, hand it to them and then they'll be able to talk to you,'" she recalled. "So I kept a journal and the UN asked me to put it on the web, and I got a lot of letters from young people. So I was really excited about that, and then I was asked to publish it."
Angelina is proud of her role as a Goodwill Ambassador. The experience has changed her life for the better and opened her eyes to so many things.
"It's funny because you are always asked to sum up who you are, and your personality and your changes - and I've never had therapy, so I don't know exactly how I did that! I just know that I opened myself up to want to learn more about the world and about other people and things that are really going on. So I changed," she smiled. "I adopted a child, and that changed me, and I went through a divorce [with Billy Bob Thornton] and that changed me. So all these different events happened and I did grow up, as we all do. I felt really fortunate that I was exposed to the right things to become a better person."
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