Bianca Jagger: Human Rights Activist, Actress, And Muse
Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol at a gala in Honor of George Cukor - April 30, 1978. Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
The name Bianca Jagger conjures thoughts of a rock star muse and a woman riding through Studio 54 on a white horse, but she’s so much more than just the ex-wife of the Rolling Stones front man. Born in Nicaragua to a successful import-export merchant, Jagger has spent her life on a picaresque journey that’s taken her from wealthy heiress, to actress, party girl, and finally human rights activist. Even before a life changing event in South America she was well on her way to being one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century. Her life story is absolutely fascinating and it proves that she’s more than just a last name or a pretty face.
She was born into a life of privilege
Born Blanca Pérez-Mora in 1945 in Managua Nicaragua, this young activist experienced her first taste of heartbreak after her parents split when she was only ten-years-old. Blanca chose to stay with her mother and changed her name to Bianca. Bianca admits that she was pampered in her youth and she “never washed a dish, boiled an egg or cleaned.” With all her free time she took in the works of Gandhi, and inspired by his call for non-violent protests she went off to study political science in France at the Paris Institute of Political Studies before traveling through India.
She and Mick Jagger married less than a year after meeting
There’s no way to talk about Bianca Jagger without discussing her husband of eight years, Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones. The two met in September 1970 a party following a Stones show in the south of France. The two were immediately drawn to one another and marriage was often a topic of conversation even a few months into their relationship. The two wed in St. Tropez at city hall before hopping over to the nearby Cafe des Arts with Paul and Ringo from The Beatles. At the time Bianca was four months pregnant and she says that at that moment she knew the relationship was doomed. After tying the knot she went to the couple’s honeymoon suite and Mick went out with his friends.
The Jaggers rarely saw each other
After the birth of their daughter, Jade, Mick and Bianca attempted to make their small family work through 1971 but fissures in the foundation were growing. Mick went out on tour in support of Exile in 1972 and never really came home. There was always another tour and another album to make (they made five albums in six years), and with Mick gone Bianca fell into the party scene. On her 30th birthday she famously rode a white horse around Studio 54, although she says claims that she rode it into the club are spurious. She writes:
It was a beautiful white horse that reminded me of mine and I made the foolish decision to get on it for a few minutes … No doubt you will agree with me that it is one thing to, on the spur of the moment, to get on a horse in a nightclub, but it is quite another to ride in on one. As an environmentalist and an animal rights defender I find the insinuation that I would ride a horse into a nightclub offensive … I hope that you can understand the difference between ‘coming in’ on a horse and getting on one.
In May 1978, three years after the horse incident, Bianca filed for divorce from Mick and turned to a life of social activism.
She was nearly killed by a group of Salvadorian soldiers
On November 16, 1981, Jagger was a part of a US congressional delegation visiting the UN refugee camp in Honduras. During the visit a dozen Salvadoran soldiers with M-16s raced into the camp and captured 15 refugees before marching them at gun point back to El Salvador. Jagger and the delegation followed the soldiers, taking pictures and documenting the raid. The troops smashed their cameras and destroyed the film as Jagger and the rest of the delegation shouted, “The world is going to know what happened.” Jagger had been a part of global relief efforts for some time before this events but she says this moment was her epiphany. Jagger told People:
It is shocking to see unarmed civilians taken away to be killed, which is what the soldiers threatened.
As violent as her time was in Honduras, Jagger didn’t stop providing aid to its people. She returned to the country in 1982 in spite of the possibility that she would face more attacks. She explained:
When the soldiers pointed guns at us, sure I was scared. But I had to go back. I cannot remain detached.
Jagger was an actress and an activist
One of the most intriguing things about Jagger is that she was appearing in films and on television while she was performing humanitarian duties in South America. Whether she was using the money from her acting work to fund the trips or just doing it because she wanted to is unclear, but her choice in jobs is genuinely kind of weird. In 1978 she appeared in the Beatles spoof All You Need Is Cash, and then in 1981 - the year she was nearly killed in Honduras - she appeared as the Sheik’s sister in The Cannonball Run. She went onto appear in an episode of Miami Vice and her final theatrical film was as Velma in C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.
Jagger continued fighting for human rights throughout the 2000s
Her days as a party girl long behind her, Bianca Jagger has spent pretty much every waking moment since the 1980s dedicating her time to helping the less fortunate. She founded the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and received awards for her humanitarian and conservation work. While speaking with The Guardian she admitted that she wished she could have been a politician even though she knows she wouldn’t have been able to accomplish many of the humanitarian goals that she out to achieve or work with the environment as much as she has. She explained:
I sometimes wish I had had the courage to be a politician – but I made the decision to be a human rights defender instead. I realized I cannot be both at the same time, because they may be incompatible.
Even in her 70s she’s a workaholic
Inspired by the Czech Republic’s successful Masks4all campaign, Jagger spent early 2020 petitioning the English government to make face masks a must during the outbreak of COVID-19. When asked how she manages to continue working at such a brisk pace she says that she has amazing self discipline skills. She’s even started cleaning her own home, something that she admits she’s not used to doing:
A friend told me I was becoming a domesticated goddess! If someone said that to me a few months ago, I would have been annoyed by that insinuation, but now I like it.
Tags: Bianca Jagger | Mick Jagger | Studio 54
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