First: Angelina is, of course, incredibly beautiful. I think she is one of the most beautiful people alive. But I wish HB had photoshopped this cover about…10% less. She is 44, and her face is not absolutely without lines. I wish they’d let it live, a little bit. (I also think she looks ever-s0-slightly surprised here, but some of that might be the eye-liner.) Having said that: This is a classic glossy magazine cover. It almost feels retro to me, in a way that is super appealing. Even if I did think it noted that 2020 was going to be “sucky” rather than “lucky.” (I was like, “yikes, that’s intense!”)

Second of all, this interview was clearly done by email (the intro to it says that she  “writes,” and you can tell from the fact that there are no follow-ups). As a person who’d ALWAYS rather give an interview by email, I understand this — it’s easier, in terms of scheduling, if nothing else — but as a writer/reader, these things are almost always better when done in they’re in person. It’s sort of interesting, though: Part of the reason an in-person interview is better is because it generally reads less stilted. But Angelina Jolie’s public persona is very internal, to me (which is unusual for a woman who used to go around with her beloved’s blood on a necklace). Not stilted, or cold, but controlled (which isn’t a bad thing). And therefore this interview does sort of mesh with the way I imagine her. The distance is on brand.

And she’s very thoughtful in it; she clearly took this seriously:

This is our end-of-year edition. Looking ahead to 2020, do you have a message for our readers?

AJ: My dream for everyone in 2020 is to remember who they are and to be who they are regardless of what might be disrupting their ability to be free. If you feel you are not living your life fully, try to identify what it is or who it is that is blocking you from breathing. Identify and fight past whatever is oppressing you. That takes many forms, and it is going to be a different fight for everyone. I say this with a deep understanding that for so many women, freedom is simply not an option. Their own system, community, family, government works against them and is part of what is shutting them down.

It’s quite a good interview, actually — and fairly long — and the internal photos are worth your while; some of them are surprisingly whimsical. Not a bad way to end the year.

[Photo: Sølve Sundsbø]