Film star, sex icon, and free-spirit of international fame. But what most people don’t know about Brigitte Bardot is that at the height of her fame in the 1970s she shunned the media and gave it all up to pursue her passion as an animal lover and animal rights activist, pouring all her money and energy into founding an animal sanctuary and settling in California, where she still lives to this day.
Brigitte Bardot was beautiful, bohemian, and unapologetically herself. But due to her international status as a sex icon and muse of an increasingly liberated society, Bardot was criticised by many during the 1960s and early ’70s for inspiring what was seen as a sexually subversive and ‘dangerously’ wilful lifestyle among the generation that followed her.
In 1973, Bardot decided to pursue a totally different path than that of a glamourised celebrity. At the height of her fame, Brigitte invested everything she had in the Fondation Brigitte Bardot, ‘the Brigitte Bardot Foundation’, which you can read more about here. These photos of Bardot holding a seal pup were taken during this transition from film star and international sex symbol to animal rights activist on location in the Arctic.
And these slightly later on in St Tropez:
The Fondation Brigitte Bardot is committed to promoting animal rights and animal welfare, with particular emphasis being placed on denouncing the fur trade, with Bardot famously stating: ‘Real women don’t wear fur’. Brigitte lives in my dream home – surrounding herself with a menagerie of animals, including horses, ponies, cats and dogs.
To put this in context, Brigitte was an animal lover from a very young age.
A very young Bardot, playing with a goat.
Brigitte Bardot when she was still a brunette!
A burgeoning career in film certainly brought her closer to the world’s more exotic creatures, including lions, tigers, a cheetah, dolphins, and chimpanzees.
She never missed an opportunity to be close to animals, even on her wedding day.
And at play.
In one quote that has definitely made its rounds of internet and first inspired me to look closer at Bardot’s life with animals, Bardot states: “I have given my beauty and my youth to men; I am going to give my wisdom and my experience to animals”.
You go, girl.