Charlize Theron is a South African actress, film producer and former fashion model. Theron was born in Benoni, Transvaal Province, South Africa, the only child of Gerda Jacoba Aletta (nee Maritz; born January 27, 1953) and Charles Jacobus Theron. Her mother is of German descent and her father was of French and Dutch ancestry; Theron is directly descended from early Huguenot settlers, and Boer War figure Daniel Theron was her great-grandfather’s brother.
At the age of 16, Theron travelled to Milan on a one-year modeling contract, after winning a local competition. She went to New York with Pauline’s Model Management. She decided to remain after her contract ended, attending the Joffrey Ballet School, where she trained as a ballet dancer. A knee injury closed this career path when Theron was 19.