Earlier this week, actress Angelina Jolie stunned the world when she wrote in a New York Times op-ed that she recently opted to have a preventative double mastectomy to lower her high genetic risk of breast cancer. Jolie has been lauded for her bravery in stepping forward and discussing a very personal choice, thus sparking a larger conversation about the decisions we make when it comes to preserving our health. There is much to admire from a public relations standpoint in Jolie's announcement as well: We wish Jolie a healthy future, and look forward to seeing how she uses her celebrity to draw attention to women's health and other important issues in the future.
- Pick the right medium. Instead of issuing a statement through a publicist, Jolie broke the news in one of the world's most respected newspapers, allowing her a venue to explain her reasoning in detail.
- Control the message. Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt are frequent tabloid fodder, so it's surprising that none of the gossip magazines picked up on her hospitalizations during the mastectomy process. (Maybe they were too busy chasing leads on Beyonce's rumored pregnancy?)
- Build on your reputation. Celebrity doesn't automatically land an op-ed in the Times, but Jolie has built a reputation for bringing attention to not just her next movie, but serious humanitarian issues. The actress has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations since 2001, personally visiting troubled areas of the world to bring media attention to these areas.
- Be honest. Jolie's op-ed is uncomfortable to read in places due to its brutal description of the operations she underwent and the tough questions her children asked about her risk of dying young like their grandmother. It makes the op-ed more powerful while breaking all the news about her operation at once.
By Amy Derjue, Senior Account Executive