Angelina Jolie , 45, took on the role of interviewer recently when she chatted over zoom with Gitanjali Rao, 15, a young scientist and inventor just named Time magazine’s first-ever Kid of the Year. For the inaugural edition, published on December 3rd, the Academy Award–winning actress spoke to the teenaged inventor about her impressive projects — including one that helps prevent cyberbullying.
The app, called Kindly, is able to “detect cyberbullying at an early stage, based on artificial-intelligence technology,” Gitanjali explained during the interview. Angelina applauded the revolutionary idea, but quipped that it would have to be her kids’ decision to download the app. “My kids would be like, “Don’t touch my phone, I’ll do it myself,” she joked.
Angelina Jolie shares her six kids with her ex-husband Brad Pitt, 56. The pair split in Sept. 2016, and are still battling in court over custody of Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 14, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 12. Their eldest child Maddox is now 19 and a legal adult.
Gitanjali, who’s from Colorado, explained to Angelina that her kids likely wouldn’t object to downloading the anti-bullying app, as it’s not designed to control them. “The goal is not to punish,” she said. “As a teenager, I know teenagers tend to lash out sometimes. Instead, it gives you the chance to rethink what you’re saying so that you know what to do next time around.”
Angelina was clearly blown away by Gitanjali’s many accomplishments and told her that it’s “exciting to have such a forward-thinking young, and female, inventor.” She also pointed out that, while she thinks of women as “being brilliant,” they’re still very under-represented in science and tech fields.
Gitanjali agreed and said, “My goal has really shifted not only from creating my own devices to solve the world’s problems, but inspiring others to do the same as well. Because, from personal experience, it’s not easy when you don’t see anyone else like you.”
“Our generation is facing so many problems,” she continued, “that we’ve never seen before. But then at the same time we’re facing old problems that still exist.”
The young change-maker added, “Like, we’re sitting here in the middle of a new global pandemic, and we’re also like still facing human-rights issues.There are problems that we did not create but that we now have to solve, like climate change and cyberbullying with the introduction of technology.”
The Time award is just the latest prize for Gitanjali. She was recently named “America’s top young scientist” for inventing a quick, low-cost test to detect lead-contamination in water.