Although bees and other pollinators are essential for propagating more than 75 percent of food crops, there is still not enough awareness about the extinction risk that these insects are currently facing as a result of human activities. In a bid to bring this urgent issue under the spotlight, on World Bee Day, Angelina Jolie covered herself in bees for a photo shoot with National Geographic.
The effort aims to raise awareness about declining global bee populations and a UNESCO-Guerlain program that trains women to protect pollinators and become beekeepers.
“Pollinators of course are extremely vital to our life and our environment. And so we have to understand scientifically what happens if we lose them,” Jolie said in an interview with National Geographic. “This is something we can work to solve.”
Taking place on the 20th of May, World Bee Day celebrates bees and other pollinators while raising awareness about the importance of these crucial insects, the threats they face, and how they contribute to sustainable development.
Jolie is also bringing attention to available solutions and is optimistic that concerted efforts can solve this urgent problem. In particular, she highlighted a joint project between UNESCO and French-cosmetics house Guerlain that trains women from different biosphere reserves in the art of beekeeping. By 2025, the project plans to build 2,500 native beehives and protect 125 million bees, according to National Geographic.
As for the shoot, photographer Dan Winters said that “Angelina stood perfectly still, covered in bees for 18 minutes without a sting.” To attract the bees to Jolie, Winters used the same pheromone used by Richard Avedon in his famous portrait of a beekeeper 40 years ago. The set had to be quiet and dark to keep the bees calm, and everyone except for Jolie wore protective gear.
Image source: National Geographic