Angelina Jolie has played many roles—thespian, wild child, mother, wife, director, philanthropist and, of course, the world’s biggest movie star. This month, she plays the role of Cover Girl, gracing the pages of the November issue of U.S. Vogue. And she’s not alone; the Jolie-Pitt clan (which includes husband Brad and children Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Pax, Vivienne, and Knox) is right alongside her, captured beautifully in a series of pictures by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz.
In her interview with Vogue contributor Elizabeth Rubin, Jolie expounds upon what it’s like at the center of the world, where stardom, opulence, humanitarianism, and domestic duties collide. Currently in the works? The release of By The Sea, a movie Jolie has written and directed herself and which she stars in opposite her real-life husband; preproduction of a film adaptation of the Cambodian memoir First They Killed My Father, which Jolie will direct with the help of 14-year-old son Maddox; humanitarian trips to the Middle East as Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; the continued development of Cleopatra, a $180-million magnum opus that will feature Jolie as the infamous Egyptian queen; and, last but not least, managing doctors’ appointments, homeschooling schedules, and play dates for her six children. Her life is beautifully chaotic and almost impossibly nomadic, but somehow, Jolie manages to keep all the balls in the air.
However, she is never more achingly human than when she discusses her recent health crises. Two years ago, Jolie discovered that she had inherited the BRCA1 gene, the same gene that had led to her mother’s death from ovarian cancer at 56. After undergoing a preventative double mastectomy in 2013, she had her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed while making By The Sea. She calls the surgery brutal, but maintained her trademark sense of humor throughout the ordeal:
“They are not easy surgeries. The ovaries are an easy surgery, but the hormone changes…interesting. We did joke that I had my Monday edit. Tuesday surgery. Wednesday go into menopause. Thursday come back to edit, a little funky with my steps.”
But despite the challenges, Jolie says she has no regrets.
“I feel grounded as a woman. I know others do too. Both of the women in my family, my mother and my grandmother started dying in their 40s [from cancer]. I’m 40. I can’t wait to hit 50 and know I made it.”
Check out the gorgeous photos of the Jolie-Pitt family below!