Daughter of a baroness and a banker who almost starved during the Second World War, Audrey Hepburn brought her education, upbringing, class and heart to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
She lived a privileged life, but her heart was blinded neither by limelight nor fame. She embraced her destiny with grace, and lived a life sharing her talent with the world and her heart with underprivileged children.
Too many waitresses and trailer trash shone like a blazing star at Hollywood’s movies dazzled the hearts and souls of the world. Audrey was different. She was unique in her certain dainty elfin way. She was humbled by the amount of luck that from her own natural power shone like the sunny personality she was. Against her doe like eyes she was a shy actress that shot to a star after her first movie, Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck.
Shooting to world stardom and millionaire, she settled with her husband, Andrea Dotti, a psychiatrist in Italy, happily attending parents and teachers’ meetings, cooking and tucking her son to bed at night. Her son, Luca, describes her in the movie as her true self. That was the way she spoke, acted and moved. She only chose the roles that spelled her natural character. After her parents split when she was six and divorced when she was nine, she reconnected and wrote regularly to her father. Some of these letters were sold in auctions, fetching high numbers and are owned by Bill Gates, Malcolm Forbes and other important art lovers. All the letters began intimately with “Daddy Dearest” and ended with Audrey or M.P. (Monkey Puzzle, her Dad had given her that pet name).
As with most women, she had insecurities of her own. Her mother never missed the opportunity to tell her what a plain and unattractive girl she was. But to Audrey, she simply put on her best smile and like a ray of sunshine her face would light up. “I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful,” she would often tell her son. She thought she had a big nose, funny teeth, awkwardly big feet and not enough breasts for her to dare and wear a revealing dress. Oh, and yes, she thought she was too thin. Yet her small size became ideal as the times moved on- and her magic and fashion is regarded as eternal and classic.
She invented style of the oversized glasses and scarves, and always rathered simple gowns to over the top ones. Her combination of grace, elegance and high spirits won her an Academy Award and the hearts of millions that still love and respect her. She shone bright, like her starry eyes playing Cinderella roles in her string of movies- of which were all hits like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina and Funny Face.
Her swan like neck, granted her a luminous acting career, which is usually forgotten, but her innocence, freshness, unspoiled charm together with her aristocratic upbringing always made her stand out from the crowd of interesting beauties of Hollywood.
She spent the remainder of her years trying to help however she could with charities, and died after she returned from Somalia discovering she had an aggressive and fast spreading cancer. She lived a full life, all of 63 years, yet her story never grows old – always inspiring, timelessly iconic.
*Grab a copy of VELVET’s October 2013 issue to read the in-depth profile on Audrey Hepburn