Why is Angelina Jolie covered with bees?

Published May 22, 2021, 9:57 AM

by Neil Ramos

National geographic recently posted a photo of actress-director Angelina Jolie covered with bees.

Not that she did so just for the fun of it.

It’s for a World Bee Day feature.

Supposedly, the portrait, photographed by Dan Winters, is part of Angelina’s effort to highlight the Women for Bees initiative that aims to build 2,500 bee hives and restock 125 million bees by 2025, all while training and supporting 50 women beekeepers.

According to Dan, it was Angelina who suggested to cover herself with bees to promote the movement.

“I’m a beekeeper, and when I was given the assignment to work with Angelina, my main concern was safety,” Dan said.

The process included them hiring master beekeeper Konrad Bouffard, who reached out to the entomologist who formulated a special pheromone for the iconic beekeeper portrait taken by Richard Avedon 40 years ago.

“The entomologist offered to let us use the actual pheromone from the Avedon shoot. We used Italian bees, kept calm throughout our shoot by Konrad. Everyone on set, except Angelina, had to be in a protective suit,” Dan said.

He added, “It had to be quiet and fairly dark to keep the bees calm. I applied the pheromone in the places on her body where I wanted bees to congregate. The bees are attracted to the pheromone, but it also encourages them not to swarm. We also placed a large number of bees on a board that rested in front of her waist. Angelina stood perfectly still, covered in bees for 18 minutes without a sting.”

In the feature, Angelina also shared how bees are “an indispensable pillar of our food supply” that are under threat by habitat loss, pesticides, parasites, and climate change, but she hoped a global network of women who will be trained can protect these pollinators.

“Protecting life-sustaining pollinators is a challenge well within our grasp,” Angelina said. “With so much we are worried about around the world and so many people feeling overwhelmed with bad news this is one [problem] that we can manage.”