Charlize Theron is a South African-born movie star, noted for her versatility, stunning beauty, and incredible Oscar-winning performance as a real-life serial killer in Monster (2003).

Theron grew up on a farm, but as a teenager she realized that her biggest dream was to appear on screen. She took a major leap and left for Europe to pursue a career in modeling, but found she loved acting a lot more and moved to the United States to give it a try.

Theron’s childhood holds some tragic memories. At the age of 15, Theron watched as her mother shot and killed her abusive alcoholic father in self-defense. Her mother wasn’t charged with a crime and Charlize didn’t let that moment hold her back.

Instead, she became an independent woman who knows what she wants from life and people around her. She is tough but has a kind soul. Theron is widely known as a philanthropist and her role in affecting change in Africa.

In 2007, she launched the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), an organization that seeks to help eradicate the spread of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In 2008, she was named one of the United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Here are 16 Charlize Theron quotes that prove there’s beauty in darkness:

I don’t think you can create anything interesting from a comfort zone. You have to work from a place of fear and failure.

When a person lives a very happy life they become beautiful.

I don’t believe in charmed lives. I think that tragedy is part of the lesson you learn to lift yourself up, to pick yourself up and to move on.

There’s nothing I despise more than people trying to be something that they’re not.

We just need to put our foot down. This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.

Think bigger than society lets you think. And find mentors.

I’ve always been comfortable with my sexuality. I’m blessed to have been raised by a woman who never made me feel ashamed about what’s underneath my clothes. That’s a part of me and I don’t run away from it.

What I know in my heart is that women and girls on the ground are powerful and that they are leaders.

I treat my relationships like marriages. The ceremony isn’t that important to me.

We don’t go through life with it all being smooth sailing… We all understand situations where you know it’s swim or drown. It’s a choice you have to make, and sometimes we surprise ourselves, when we actually make that choice and start swimming, with how well we can do it.

I do this because I’m an observer of people. That’s why I want to be an actor. I’m fascinated by human beings and the circumstances they find themselves in.

I want my son to grow up with a mom that he could see and look at her life with all the mistakes and with all the failures and all the flaws and say, ‘My mom lived an authentic life. That was the life she wanted to live.’

I think today women are very scared to celebrate themselves, because then they just get labeled.

Love is such a divine thing, it’s such a gift.

When government starts to tell us who can love and what is good love, I do have a problem with that.

There’s a time and a place for everything and sometimes there’s… a time not for showering. You haven’t lived until you’ve done that, seriously.