Charlize Theron Is the Definition of Kick-Ass -- On-Screen, Off-Screen & as a Mom

Charlize Theron

It's hard not to like Charlize Theron. She's a cool chick, she supports great causes, she adopted two beautiful children, and she's played a slew of dynamic characters on-screen. She has also been through some incredible hardships in her life and has come out strong on the other end. And so we here at CafeMom have chosen to happily include her in our #MomsWhoInspire series.

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When Charlize was 15 years old, she witnessed her mother shoot and kill her drunken, violent father in self-defense. "I know what happened," Charlize told Diane Sawyer in 2004, "and I know that if my daughter was in the same situation, I would do the same thing." It was, undoubtedly, the "great tragedy of [her] life," as she told Piers Morgan in 2011, and she credits her loving, supportive mother as helping save her life "many times."

She told Piers:

You have to find where you want yourself to be, and how you want people to see you in this world. I had a parent who led me through the grief, shock, and anger going through all of the emotional things that you do when you -- when something like this happens to you. But really kind of guided me towards not being a victim and not going through my life feeling victimized. You know, I'm incredibly saddened by that night and saddened by the event ... [but] no, it doesn't haunt me. No, it doesn't haunt me at all. I'm completely at peace.

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Charlize herself became a mom in 2012 when she adopted a baby boy, Jackson, from South Africa -- her own homeland. And just last year, the Oscar winner adopted a second child, a baby girl named August, who was born in the US. When asked in 2015 if motherhood affected her choice in film roles, she told W magazine that she was actually more attracted to darker material now than she was before motherhood. "I look at Jackson and I want to fight harder to stop AIDS and tell stories that shed a light on injustice," she told the mag. "I feel like he deserves a better world."

And the cool thing about Charlize is that she is indeed playing a part (both on-screen and off) in trying to make a better world for her kids. As a UN Messenger of Peace, she has centered her work around HIV/AIDS prevention and eliminating violence against women.

In 2007, she founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, whose purpose is to help "African youth keep themselves safe from HIV/AIDS." Among her many charitable actions, she has appeared in South African anti-rape campaigns and filmed PSAs supporting the Rape Crisis Center in Cape Town. In her travels, she has helped spread awareness about sexual violence against women.

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She has also portrayed some incredible women on-screen, both fictional and real. In 2005's North Country, her character's story was inspired by Lois Jenson, who filed the US's first class action lawsuit for sexual harrassment. Recently, in Mad Max: Fury Road, she was the kick-ass Furiosa, who essentially made Max himself a secondary character. She has continued to make interesting film choices and put out extraordinary work, having risen long ago to A-list status (she nabbed a Best Actress Academy Award back in '04, after all) and keeping her place firmly -- and deservedly -- within it.

It's safe to say that Jackson and August have a mama they can look up to and be proud of. Charlize has used her voice and her talents to help make a better world for her kids to inhabit. As far as inspiring moms go, we've got a good one here.

 


Image via Nick Zonna / Splash News; design by Anne Meadows

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