Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy and therefore greatly reduce her risk of getting breast cancer has appeared on many front pages of national newspapers – and will surely be gracing the covers of many magazines over the next few weeks too as her story is discussed further.
But while she might be a Hollywood superstar, she also demonstrates how satisfying telling your story can be.
As other celebrities lined up to praise Angelina, she said: “I hope that other women can benefit from my experience.”
At Featureworld we are often asked why people sell a story. The reasons are varied but in fact rarely is it solely to make lots of money.
Of course people want to be paid for telling a story – but it’s more the principle of being paid, not wanting to feel exploited, that is behind getting a payment.
However, real reasons for going public run much deeper. And we think Angelina Jolie coming out about something like this – which would normally be unthinkable in the beautiful world of Hollywood movies – shows why telling your story can be so empowering.
For a start, if you have gone through a trauma, by telling your story something positive is coming out of it. Getting your story into a magazine or newspaper or on television is definitely going to raise awareness of an issue. If you are a woman for example, like Angelina Jolie, who has recently discovered from a gene test you have a higher risk than average of getting breast cancer – and you were considering this drastic surgery – what better than to read how Angelina has been through it and come out still looking fab on the other side.
This of course is why Angelina decided to reveal such a personal experience. Because getting a story like this out there does make you feel good, it does make you feel you have turned something bad into something good.
Knowing a national newspaper, magazine or TV thinks enough of you and your story to print an article on it helps too.
There are other reasons as well. Perhaps Angelina was worried information that she has had some sort of surgery might somehow leak out in future. In this case, going public certainly stops any gossip in its tracks. It can be a great way of setting the record straight and telling people how it really is.
Telling a story can also boost your own profile. This is why we often advise authors that one way to get their novel noticed is to do a personal piece about themselves. It can be a health piece or a relationship piece. But anything that gives the general public a deeper understanding of you definitely helps get you out there.
In Angelina’s case this will have boosted her profile enormously. Okay, so she was already a much respected world-famous actress whose partner is heart-throb Brad Pitt. But in revealing a flaw about herself to the world, she has endeared herself to millions, some of whom might not have liked her so much before.
It was a bold move on Angelina’s part but one that’s already gained her huge respect and admiration.
In fact, it’s been so well received, we predict the floodgates are now open for other celebrities to follow suit. Gone are the days when people in the public eye worried about the press finding out about about something hidden in their private life. Now, the trick is revealing that info to your advantage.
Could you do an Angelina?
You might not be a celebrity but at Featureworld we treat you like one! Of course Angelina wrote her own piece in the New York Times – or it is most likely to have been ghostwritten by a journalist and Angelina given full copy approval. Years ago this was something only celebrities could insist on but at Featureworld that is how stories are sold every day. Every story we write is has full copy approval from interviewees prior to publication. And of course, even if you would be happy to tell your story for free, you can earn a tidy fee too!
If you want to share your story contact us for advice using the online form >>>