Angelina Jolie defends daughter Shiloh's style

U.S. actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walk aboard a taxi boat with their son Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt and daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (in red coat) in Venice February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Michele Crosera

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It’s never easy being a style trendsetter, opening yourself up for criticism from the world’s fashionista. But for a four year-old, it might seem especially hard -- unless your mother is Angelina Jolie.

Jolie, who is currently promoting her upcoming film “Salt,” defended her daughter Shiloh’s style choices over the weekend, calling them “fascinating” and saying she would not force any of her six children to be something they are not.

In recent months Shiloh, 4, has been pictured wearing boys’ neckties, jackets, hats and other clothing that sparked headlines about the youngster being a bit of a tomboy.

“I think she (Shiloh) is fascinating, the choices she is making. And I would never be the kind of parent to force somebody to be something they are not. I think that is just bad parenting,” she told Reuters on Saturday.

Jolie, who is raising her kids with partner Brad Pitt, said encouraging the kids’ sense of self-expression was an important part of their upbringing.

“Children should be allowed to express themselves in whatever way they wish without anybody judging them because it is an important part of their growth,” she said, before adding: “Society always has something to learn when it comes to the way we judge each other, label each other. We have far to go.”

Indeed, Jolie said the crew grew uncomfortable on the set of “Salt” when she dressed in men’s clothes for her role as a gung-ho CIA officer wrongly accused of being a Russian spy. To hide, she must disguise herself as a man.

“It was fascinating,” she said. “The stunt guys I usually hung out talking to, didn’t want to hang out with me. The girls didn’t know how to respond...there was something about him that kind of freaked the whole crew out.

Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Bob Tourtellotte