Being Angelina Jolie for a day

love-opera-victoria-bakerAngelina Jolie…not only is she beautiful and the mother of Brad Pitt’s children (as well as the star of this weekend’s release Maleficent) but she’s also a humanitarian spokesperson.

Yes, it’s easy to be jealous so indulge me for a moment, won’t you? Jolie first became personally aware of worldwide humanitarian crises while filming Tomb Raider in Cambodia. She eventually turned to The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency mandated to co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide, for more information on international trouble spots.

Since 2001, Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons in more than 20 countries. All that and she still looks fabulous wherever she goes.

And what are we poor mortals to do in an effort to emulate this Hollywood icon? Well, you needn’t be Angelina Jolie to help; lending a helping hand is within everyone’s grasp. I came across a unique jewelry brand Article 22 whose goal is to design meaningful collections that tell stories and give back.

Their first collection entitled Peacebomb is jewelry made from Vietnam War era bombs by Laotian artisans. In this way Article 22 supports the unsung heroism of local artisans in faraway places which make our own daily struggles seem insignificant.

Article 22 has been recognized by global consumers and press as pioneering the transformation of weapons to jewelry. They have been featured by Al Jazeera, ZDF German TV, France’s TV5 Monde, the LA Times, Glamour, and tweeted by model Angela Lindvall and actress Olivia Wilde.

New York native Elizabeth Suda, the Founder and Creative Director, had a vision when she began Article 22. Her desire to create a social business that supports women through craft started when she volunteered with a woman-led textile business and consulted for Swiss NGO, Helvetas.

Recognizing that market linkage and design are major constraints on artisans, she founded ARTICLE 22 to create a traceable link between producers in the East and consumers in the West… and to tell their stories.

By the way, the jewelry looks beautiful too: it’s modern, hip and well-priced. But what I love most is the story it tells. Laos may feel like it’s a million miles away both physically and mentally. But that emotional gap is quickly filled when we realize that we are all citizens of the world.

We may wear different clothes and drive better cars but these are just the artifice of society, not the essence of our humanity. So next time you’re looking for a unique piece of jewelry look no further than Article 22 and bring out your inner Angelina Jolie Humanitarian side.

Treat yourself and do a good deed. Who knows, you may even snag yourself a Brad Pitt look alike in the process.

Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]



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