Charlize Theron (b. August 7, 1975), is a South African actress.
Charlize Theron is the newest U.N. Messenger of Peace, turning her Academy Award-winning fame to ending violence against women and girls around the globe. Theron, 33, told reporters Monday after being inducted into the U.N. role that she was taking on her new responsibilities "very humbly, with a very excited heart." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed her tothe new role, he said, because of Theron's ability to use her "voice, compassion and special relationship with the public to create a better world.
"This is something that has been very dear to me, and disturbing to me for a long time, being born and raised in a country like South Africa, living in a country where it was very evident to me that violence against women and children was something that wasn't going to go away, and as a matter of fact has just gotten worse," Theron said.
Theron, who at age 15 witnessed her mother shoot her alcoholic father to death while he was threatening the family, won an Oscar for Best Actress in 2004 for her portrayal of a domestic violence victim turned serial killer in "Monster." She also was nominated for an Oscar for playing a character in 2005's "North Country" dealing with domestic abuse and sexual harassment.
Theron joins nine other well-known people including Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan and actors George Clooney and Michael Douglas in becoming a "messenger" for the U.N. in waging peace and conducting its humanitarian work worldwide.
Already an activist, Theron began working with a Cape Town, South Africa rape crisis center in 1999 and later founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to promote HIV/AIDS education for poor children and their families in South Africa.
Thinking too much about the big picture can be "very overwhelming," she says, so Theron will try to avoid such frustration and measure her success in her new U.N. role on a person-by-person basis.
"Trust me, I've had moments with my foundation where I sat down and threw my hands up and said, 'Does any of this actually matter?' And I think every time that has happened to me, there's been one face that shows up in front of me, with tears of joy, where you can see that what you have done has affected this one singular person. That to me is success. It's the only way I can do this," she said.
Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg-area, South Africa on August 7th, 1975. Her mother, Gerda, is German, while her late father, Charles, was French (she was named after him).
Charlize began her modeling career in 1991 aged 16 when she won a local modeling contest. She started modeling in Europe and came to New York a year later. She didn't like being a model though, and decided to try her luck with ballet, which had been her biggest passion as a child. Unfortunately, a knee injury prevented her from dancing. Her mother bought her a one-way ticket to Los Angeles in 1994 and Charlize started visiting all of the agents on Hollywood Boulevard but without any luck. She went to the bank to cash a check for $500 she'd got from her mother and became furious when she learned that the bank could not cash her check because it was an out-state check. She made a scene and an agent gave her his card, in exchange that she learn the language, which she did by watching soap operas on TV. Her first role was as a young mother in a park in a B-film in 1995, but it was a non-speaking role with three seconds of screen time. Her next role was as Helga in 2 Days in the Valley (1996), which landed her the role of Tina in That Thing You Do! (1996). Since then, she has starred in movies like The Devil's Advocate (1997); Mighty Joe Young (1998); The Cider House Rules (1999); The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) and The Italian Job(2003). An important day in her life was February 29th, 2004 when she was awarded with her first Academy Award for her performance inMonster (2003).