Skip links

Personal brands that inspire: Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie has become one of the world’s most loved film stars, as well as being admired for her humanitarian work. What’s her personal branding secret?

Great personal brands are those that make an impact on us. Somehow they are different and stand out from the crowd. While effective personal branding can be achieved by anyone, not just Hollywood stars, it’s sometimes useful to look at successful celebrity personal brands to learn from them.

Angelina Jolie has built a much-admired personal brand. With an Academy Award to her name, as well as two Screen Actors Guild Awards and three Golden Globe Awards, she is one of Hollywood’s most highly paid actresses and is also well respected outside of the silver screen environment for her work with refugees.

In her recent op-ed in the New York Times, Angelina shared her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy. This demonstrates one of the most fundamental building blocks of personal branding: authenticity.

By opening up about something that is very personal to her and taking a stand on an issue, Angelina is allowing herself to be vulnerable, which is a hugely attractive trait in a personal brand. She has touched thousands of people who can relate to her story in some way. Instead of choosing to remain silent about her surgery, she has been honest and authentic and, in the process, made people feel an emotional connection to her. She has also possibly even saved lives by educating people on the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases the chance of breast and ovarian cancer in women who carry it.

Learn from Angelina and make sure that your personal brand is built on authenticity. Ensure that your behaviour reflects your values; that you don’t “put on a show” for people; and that you don’t change when you’re around different groups of people. Personal branding doesn’t mean pretending to be someone you’re not – it means having the courage to be a little bit vulnerable with people and learning to show people the value you can add.