When I was a little girl, I wanted to become an air hostess. The sleek uniforms, beautiful make-up and obvious intelligence of those women was one of the most attractive things I'd ever seen. These ladies truly had it all. They got to travel the world and speak all these cool languages (English!), all in one of the most glamorous industries around.
Guess I was not living in a feminist world, and I was pretty naïve about the airline industry, but I did become a traveller and language lover. Role models matter! Just like Sheryl Sandberg says in her book Lean In, we need to see more of what we are aiming for in life. When influential people show us how accomplished they are in speaking other languages, it shows that more than one country matters in the world. This list of Hollywood polyglots is just a little start, but I want you to find your own role models and see how far language learning can take you. Each of the stars I am listing in this article have found work in more than one country and fame in more than one culture - so it goes to show that bilingualism is not just a "nice to have", it's actually a real source of success.
Here are 5 smokin' hot multilingual Hollywood stars.
He is oscar-nominated for the harrowing thriller The Hunt, but you might know Mads Mikkelsen from his fabulous acting in recent James Bond movie Skyfall. Mads Mikkelsen speaks Danish, Swedish, English and German - a classic combination for Scandinavian actors. He's a great symbol of international success, even if you're from a small country. And pretty hot too. Godt gået, Mads!
Annet was nominated as a multilingual role model by Fluent reader Javier, and admired around the world for her acting in The Blacklist and The Americans. She now combines her Indian and Russian heritage while forging an acting career in the USA. Annet stands out from the crowd because she is not only bilingual but a true polyglot, speaking six languages altogether.
I can never see enough of Daniel Brühl - this stellar actor grew up bilingually with Spanish and German. He is one of Europe's finest young actors, and most recently impressed all of us as a chilling Nazi officer, speaking flawless French in Inglourious Basterds.
We don't have to go back 30 years in time in order to find a truly beautiful, inspiring, multilingual role models in Hollywood but of course Audrey is the queen of them all. There is this quote that I have seen about her, which sums up plenty of things I believe not only about languages, but also about feminism.
Audrey Hepburn was the granddaughter of a baron, the daughter of a Nazi sympathizer, spent her teens doing ballet to secretly raise money for the dutch resistance against the Nazis, and spent her post-film career as a goodwill ambassador of UNICEF winning the presidential medal of freedom for her efforts. And history remembers her as pretty.
Check out this video on Jennie's blog to see Audrey in action.
Hollywood star, successful director, Yale graduate and bilingual. Yes, there is a lot more than just a pretty face to Jodie Foster. You can watch her speaking her flawless French in Elysium.
Bonus Mention for Poor Matt Damon
I want this guy to have the highest credit of all - credit for trying! Matt Damon spoke quite decent French in The Monuments Men and got mocked for it throughout the whole film. Shame on you, Hollywood! We all know that speaking out does not have to be done in perfect tones, and in my eyes Damon's character deserved a lot of credit for using his language skills.
So here I want to celebrate the effort Damon made as an actor, and let's hope he aspires to more bilingualism.
PS: If you also wanted to become a flight attendant, join me in listening to one of my favourite podcasts - Betty in The Sky With A Suitcase!
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