Two months ago, Angelina Jolie became braver in real life than in any of the roles she's played on screen.  The bombshell actress, known as one of the world's most beautiful, chose to save her own life by undergoing a double mastectomy. 

Six years ago Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of cancer at the age of 56.  Recently the Academy Award Winner found out she carries the life-threatening BRCA1 gene.  That means she had a more than 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime, and a more than 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer.

So for the sake of her children, Jolie made the heartbreaking decision to have her breasts removed as a preventative measure.  As I type those words imagine the woman who so beautifully bared all her body to play the tortured supermodel Gia, and who struck a thigh-high leg baring pose on the stage at the 2012 Oscars.

The woman I've always considered to be a great beauty, a woman envied for her body has been forced to alter it.  I've always been Team Angie.  I think about her roles in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Salt.  To me she has managed to build strength of character over the course of her career despite being a constant target for the tabloid media.  She is not simply an actress or the siren who stole Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston.  She's become a humanitarian, and ambassador, and role model.  She's risen above carrying blood vials around her neck and kissing her brother.  She is a phoenix.  And the decision to preserve her wellness and give herself and her children the best chance at a future by having an elective mastectomy makes her a hero in my book.

Jolie underwent the removal of her breasts in February, followed by reconstructive surgery just last month.  The actress chose to share her story via The New York Times in the hopes of inspiring other woman to be proactive warriors about their health.

"Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action", Jolie writes.

E! News correspondent Giuliana Rancic had a similar experience when she chose the same elective surgery after finding out she had breast cancer.

Of her discovery and procedures Angelina says:

"My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a “nipple delay,” which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area. This causes some pain and a lot of bruising, but it increases the chance of saving the nipple.


Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.


Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful."