100 World Class South Africans: Charlize Theron

2013-05-10 12:36

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Silver screen goddess

Who would’ve thought a girl from Benoni – whose first film was Children of the Corn III – would one day exemplify the new glamour of Hollywood?

In a recent Dior J’adore commercial, Theron is shown with Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich.

She’s a modern icon, and one of the world’s most powerful actresses; her films have earned around $800 million. She’s made 36 movies (five of which she also produced) in 17 years.

Yet she’s more than a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – she’s a ‘badass’ (as Adweek put it).

She won an Oscar (and 18 other awards) playing a serial killer in Monster. She’s the go-to girl for unlikeable characters other actresses are too sissy to play.

That’s because she’s a down-to-earth South African who’s seen the best and worst of human nature, who enjoys getting beyond the surface of things. In an interview with

Oprah in 2005, she explained: ‘Human beings are still so undiscovered, and I want to add to our discovery in my work.

I want to bring characters like Aileen [Wuornos] to life – to give us patience for how different we all are.’

Theron also has a yen for activism. She’s a UN Messenger of Peace, has spoken out on rape and violence against women, and helps fund HIV/Aids projects in southern Africa.

As director Jason Reitman said, ‘She doesn’t half-ass anything.’

But, as Woody Allen also said, ‘She’s so hot that if she was in this room, your buttons would melt.’

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