What International Fame Really Means to Amal Clooney

Fiona Bruce interviews the human rights lawyer Tuesday on BBC News at Six

By Zach Johnson Mar 07, 2017 7:05 PMTags
Amal Clooney, Geroge ClooneyJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Amal Clooney had a life long before she met George Clooney.

As a result of George's international fame, Amal became somewhat of a celebrity in her own right. But the 39-year-old human rights lawyer, who is expecting twins, said she doesn't mind the attention that comes with being married to a movie star—if only for a very specific reason.

"There is lots of my work that takes place behind closed doors that is not ever seen," Amal explained to Fiona Bruce Tuesday on BBC News at Six. From her perspective, if people are interested in her—for whatever reason—they may also become invested in her altruistic endeavors. "I think if there are more people who now understand what's happening about the Yazidis and ISIS, and if there can be some action that results from that, that can help those clients, then I think it's a really good thing to give that case the extra publicity that it may get."

But Amal knows fame alone isn't enough to make people care: "If you don't have a good case and you don't have a good message, then shining a light on it is not going to get you very far."

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To be clear, Amal is more than just a wife or a mom-to-be: She's an attorney on a mission. Over the last three years, ISIS terrorists who invaded parts of Syria and Iraq have enslaved, raped and murdered Yazidis because of their ancient religion, which centers on a figure known as the Peacock Angel. More than 5,000 have been killed, according to a U.N. inquiry published in 2016.

Amal has been working with Nadia Murad, who was captured by ISIS in 2014 but escaped after three months, during which time she was raped by a dozen men and often prayed for death. "Victims have all said they actually want their day in court. It's not going to be easy, but we're working on multiple fronts," Amal told NBC News last year. Before taking Nadia's case, she spoke to George about the dangers involved. "He met Nadia, too, and I think he was moved for the same reason. He understood I have spent my career working on international justice and this is a clear case of genocide and genocide that's gone completely unaddressed and ignored."

(E! and NBC News are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)