When it’s your job to report on red carpet events, you’re used to seeing photos of the world’s most beautiful women. But every so often, you come across a celebrity whose beauty is on a whole other level—and you completely understand why she is famous. Heck, she was born to be famous, with that unique arrangement of facial features.
I put Angelina Jolie in this category. After more than two decades in the spotlight, she’s not one of those “relatable,” “girl next door” celebs, like Jennifer Lawrence or Brie Larson. I think of her as an old-school, aspirational kind of starlet. She’s not like you or I, and she knows it.
The question is—did she always look this way? To find out, I dug way back in the photo archives, before she became a mom to six kids, before Brad Pitt, and before Billy Bob Thornton.
Angelina is 46 now, and this is how her look has evolved from 1997 until today.
From 1997-1999: Hollywood Wild Child
At the 1997 HBO 25th Anniversary Celebration
Our first shot of Angelina dates back to 1997, when she was just 22 years old. Already, she is brimming with confidence on the red carpet—no doubt because she grew up under the wing of her famous father, Jon Voight, and had been acting as a child and a teen. She’s sporting the short haircut and skinny eyebrows that were oh-so-popular in the late ‘90s (also see: Gwyneth Paltrow). But underneath it all, you can still sense the star quality.
At the 1998 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Playing by Heart’
Ange is famous for her full lips and almond-shaped eyes, and here we can see that they were always there—not to mention the charisma that oozes out of this picture! Remember, celebs weren’t doing hyaluronic acid lip fillers in the 1990s; the only option was silicone, which I doubt could look this good. (Jessica Biel’s unnatural results would be more likely.) However, there is one feature that I suspect she later tweaked: her nose.
At the 1999 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Bone Collector’
See what I mean about her nose? It’s totally normal—for a civilian nose—but by Hollywood standards, it’s obviously wider through the bridge, with a more prominent, boxy tip. At this time, her naturally brunette hair had been lightened to blonde for her breakout role in Girl, Interrupted.
From 2000-2003: Red Carpet Goth
At the 2000 Oscars
Then, Angelina’s look completely changed. To accept her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, she appeared to be channelling Goth icon Morticia Adams. Her blonde hair was transformed to jet-black (and lengthened with the help of extensions), and she also discovered winged liner (which she still favours to this day). I actually like this look a lot, even if it’s more suited to Halloween.
At the 2001 Golden Globes
Although it wasn’t as extreme as the previous year, she brought an edgy vibe to the red carpet again in 2001. Her hair was still dyed black, just tied up in a bun, and she prominently displayed a dragon tattoo emblazoned with “Billy Bob” (Thornton, her second husband) on her upper arm. Remember, this was long before tattoos became mainstream. “People do always think that because I have tattoos, I’m bad, or that there’s something very dark about me,” she told Rolling Stone in 1999.
At the 2002 Golden Globes
Not even Angelina could avoid the bad eyebrow trends of the early 2000s. Thin brows are one thing, but these look like they were drawn on with a Sharpie! The angular lines are just so harsh, especially with her ultra-pale skin and black hair. Meanwhile, her nasal tip is looking less boxy, more pointed and more compact.
At the 2003 World Premiere of ‘Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life’
As her fame rose—she was 28 by this time—she slowly began to move away from Goth and towards a more conventional Hollywood look. So she went back to brown hair (albeit a little darker than her natural colour), styled in long waves with more natural makeup. We can see that underneath the brow pencil, most of her brow hair is actually gone, although it fortunately would grow back within a few years.
From 2004-2008: Brunette Bombshell
At the 2004 New York City Premiere of ‘Shark Tale’
Wait, is this the same person? Just a year later, after separating from Billy Bob, Angelina stepped out looking more like a Victoria’s Secret model than her former “vampire chic.” With a lighter hair colour, glossy lips and lined eyes, she’s a total bombshell. Also notice how her nose is much narrower than it used to be, in 1998.
At the 2005 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’
I think we can all agree that she hit peak fame in 2005. That was when Mr. & Mrs. Smith came out, and she was constantly in the tabloids (thanks to a blossoming relationship with her co-star, Brad Pitt). With her pouty lips, long lashes and full mane of brunette hair, she looked every inch the Hollywood superstar. Those were the days!
At the 2006 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Good Shepherd’
Here, you can see just how much her nose has changed over the course of a few years. If you compare this photo to the one from 1999, there’s still an obvious difference in the size and the shape. From this angle, the tip of her new nose is so narrow that it almost looks pinched.
At the 2007 Golden Globes
Angelina continued to turn heads on the red carpet after becoming a mom. She was 31 by this time, and had given birth to Shiloh the year before (who joined her three adopted kids, Maddox, Pax and Zahara). The high bun and winged liner are classics, and whittling down her nose draws even more attention to her expressive eyes.
At the 2008 New York City Premiere of ‘Changeling’
Who looks this good after giving birth to twins—and with four other kids in the house?! Angelina, that’s who. (Granted, she has a lot of help.) She went back to her darker brunette hair colour, and embraced what was quickly becoming her signature look of shaded eyes and pale, glossy lips.
From 2009-2014: A-List Glam
At the 2009 Oscars
Nobody was more A-list than Brangelina, so during her 12-year relationship with Brad, Angelina always brought her A game to the red carpet. Case in point: this half-up hairstyle accentuated by her signature cat eyes and a stunning pair of emerald drop earrings (which were apparently worth millions).
At the 2010 London Premiere of ‘Salt’
In case you forgot, she once had bangs (which of course looked great on her, even though she soon decided not to keep them). To go with her new look, she lightened her hair again to a softer mid-brown, and dialed up the drama with charcoal eyeliner and false lashes.
At the 2011 Golden Globes
Green is definitely her colour—so she repeated the same tone from her famous earrings, but this time in a sparkling dress. The bangs are growing out now, and her features are starting to become a bit more chiseled and angular (which is a normal part of aging process). She was 35 here.
At the 2012 Oscars
Angelina’s 2012 Oscars look was one that we won’t soon forget. But not because she surprised us with red lipstick (which she has only ever worn a handful of times). No, it was because she kept awkwardly flaunting her right leg, inspiring countless Photoshopped memes that still circulate a decade later.
At the 2013 Governors Awards
After speculation that the leg thing might negatively affect her career, she kept a low profile for a while. No more red lips, no more gowns with high slits, just understated glamour like she epitomizes here. This low chignon with her go-to individual lashes is simple and chic.
At the 2014 BAFTA Awards
A few months before marrying Brad, she served up another memborable look: a menswear-inspired suit juxtaposed with long hair and smoky eyes. Now we start to see the very first signs of aging—a little volume loss under her eyes, and a few faint lines. That leads me to believe that she was still eschewing injectables, unlike most actresses her age (38).
From 2015-2019: Dark and Dramatic
At the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards
Then, she got a bit of a glow up. It’s amazing what a full strip of false lashes and some extra eyeliner can do, along with a glossy, near-black hair colour. Her skin looks more creamy and her eyes pop (although she’s definitely wearing more concealer now, to compensate for the hollowing). This entire look reminds me of a ‘60s Priscilla Presley.
At the 2016 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’
If this is 40, sign me up. She is perhaps most beautiful of all in this stripped-back look of natural hair and barely-there makeup (except for some low-key lashes and liner to extend out her eye shape). At this point, do I think she’s had any other work done? Since her forehead is smooth, there could be a little Botox.
At the 2017 Hollywood Film Awards
The red lipstick finally made a return in 2017, worn with smoky eyes, dewy skin and thick, voluminous waves. Maybe it’s to compensate for the fact that her complexion looks a little grey. After separating from Brad the previous year, she allegedly dealt with the stress by “skipping meals” and smoking “two packs a day.”
At the 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards
She kept her hair dark through 2018, and if I’m being honest, it’s a little harsh-looking now that she’s approaching her mid-40s. To brighten things up, she once more added a slick of bold lipstick. I still can’t see any obvious signs that she’s been dabbling with needles, as her cheeks don’t look plumped up, and she hasn’t erased any fine lines (other than possibly on her forehead). Then again, maybe whoever is injecting her is just that good.
At the 2019 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’
Angelina seems more luminous here, and it’s probably because 2019 was her year. Not only was her divorce from Brad finalized, making her officially single again, she also made a professional comeback by reprising her role in the Maleficent series. To me, her skin looks much healthier now, but her forehead is suspiciously smooth for a 44-year-old smoker.
From 2021: Soft and Natural
At the 2021 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Paper Glue’
That brings us to Ange’s most recent red carpet appearance, and she seems to be aging in reverse. Let me remind you—she’s 46 now, but could almost pass for a decade younger here. The slightly lighter hair colour softens her features, and her skin has a real, natural glow to it. Notice how much fuller her eyebrows have become, which contributes to the youthful effect. Once again, I see no signs of any obvious cosmetic tinkering.
Angelina Jolie Before and After
Angelina in 1998 vs 2019
“I haven’t had anything done and I don’t think I will... I don’t plan to do it myself,” Angelina declared in 2010 when asked about plastic surgery. But I’m not sure I believe her, when I compare how her nose looked at the start of her career versus now.
Dr. Anthony Youn noticed the same thing. “If you look closely at her nose, it does look like she may have had a very subtle nose job, otherwise known as a rhinoplasty. Her nose looks a little bit thinner and it looks a little bit shorter. Now, I think it was a very, very well-done job—it’s not super-obvious, but I do think that she’s had it done.”
He also suspects that she has used injectables. “I do believe she may have had a touch of filler in her cheeks to help keep her cheeks as full as they are, and maybe a touch of Botox as well. But I don’t see any surgery here.”
“She doesn’t have any kind of a plastic look because [she] doesn’t do anything drastic—she doesn’t need it,” confirms her dermatologist, Dr. Rhonda Rand. “There’s a light laser resurfacing we like to use sometimes, but just once in a while.”
And what about her most famous feature—her lips?
“Everyone has commented about her lips,” says Dr. Daniel Barrett. “They are very beautiful, very natural, very voluptuous, and they’re asking, ‘Are they fake or are they real?’ I personally think, going back on her photos, that they are real and I don’t think she’s had lip fillers or any major lip enhancements done.”