Angelina Jolie joined the celebration of World Bee Day on Thursday with a photoshoot that had her covered in crawling and flying bees.
The 45-year-old humanitarian appeared on the front cover of National Geographic with her upper torso covered with these flying insects. According to photographer Dan Winters, the actress "stood perfectly still, covered in bees for 18 minutes without a sting."
A video shared on the Instagram page of National Geographic showed the dangerous insects crawling on her face, chest, and neck. But she appeared unfazed and even smiled, batted her eyes, and moved her head up and down.
A separate video posted on the magazine's YouTube Page showed the actress thanking the crew for making the shoot easy. She also called the experience "very exciting."
In a statement that accompanied the video and Jolie's portrait, Winters admitted that his main concern with doing the shoot was safety. He said doing it amid the pandemic, "with a full crew and live bees made the execution complex." He decided on using the same technique that Richard Avedon did 40 years ago for his iconic beekeeper portrait.
"I hired my friend Konrad Bouffard, a master beekeeper, to help. He contacted the entomologist who formulated a special pheromone (known as queen mandibular pheromone, or QMP) for Avedon and worked with him to capture the image of beekeeper Ronald Fisher, which appeared in his book "The American West," the photographer revealed.
He said the entomologist gave them the actual pheromone from the Avedon shoot and that they used Italian bees kept calm by Bouffard. Winters said everyone on the set, except Jolie, had to use protective suits and that they had to be quiet and the room fairly dark to keep the bees calm.
He applied the pheromone on Jolie's body where he wanted the bees to congregate. He said the formula attracted the insects but also encouraged them "not to swarm." They also had a large number of bees on a board placed in front of her waist.
The actress was also told not to take a bath for three days so as not to confuse the bees with the different scents. But it is a small price to pay for raising awareness about the importance of these pollinators to our environment. Aside from the photo shoot, Jolie is also working with UNESCO and Guerlain on a Women for Bees initiative to "ultimately build 2,500 beehives and restock 125 million bees by 2025—while training and supporting 50 women beekeepers."