Angelina Jolie posed for a dramatic portrait for National Geographic on World Bee Day to call attention to the critical need to conserve bees—as well as a UNESCO-Guerlain initiative that trains women as beekeeper-entrepreneurs and protectors of native bee populations around the world. Photographer Dan Winters, an amateur beekeeper, was inspired by a popular 1981 Richard Avedon portrait of a bald California beekeeper with a bee-covered nude torso.

Jolie was inspired by different visions: of bees as an indispensable pillar of our food supply—one that’s under threat from parasites, pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change—and of a global network of women who will be trained to protect these essential pollinators.

Angelina Jolie remained still in a closely monitored setting for about 18 minutes to commemorate World Bee Day with this National Geographic photo shoot. Bee pheromones were used to signal where the insects could be located in this effective photograph, which was previously invented to photograph beekeeper Ronald Fisher.


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The actor, producer, and humanitarian activist spoke with National Geographic about the links between a safe climate, food security, and women’s empowerment, as well as the approximately 20,000 species of bees, including 4,000 native to the United States. Protecting life-sustaining pollinators, she says, is a task well beyond our reach.

“With so much, we are worried about the world and so many people feeling overwhelmed with bad news,” Jolie said, “this is one [problem] that we can manage.”

Angelina Jolie will be a part of UNESCO and cosmetic firm Guerlain’s campaign to train 50 women to be beekeepers, known as the “Women For Bees” project. In all, the goal is to reintroduce 125 million bees into the earth by constructing 2,500 beehives.