Artist Profile: Audrey Hepburn, Actress & Humanitarian
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”
The enchanting image of Ms. Hepburn is one that will remain etched in our memories for the remainder of time. Her sophisticated demeanor, and appearance, coupled with her innocent and playful sense of humor, lives on through various classic films that many of us find ourselves familiar with today, even decades after their initial release. Yet, even more so than being a notable, and award-winning, actress of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Audrey Hepburn was, and remains, an icon in every sense of the word. The leading lady would have turned eighty-five years old today, and with that, I propose a day of remembrance and tribute to a woman who inspired, and touched, the lives of so many throughout her lifetime and thereafter.
Perhaps it was the minute details of Audrey’s birth that served purpose, and precedent, for the unpretentious characteristics that later defined her humble morals, ethics and philosophies. She was born the daughter of a baroness, as Audrey Kathleen Ruston on May 4, 1929, yet was born, nonetheless, as a child of the German occupancy in Belgium- titles of the political and superficial type were irrelevant in such times. By the age of fifteen, Audrey exemplified early inclinations of the humanitarian sort by using ballet as a means of gathering money to contribute to the Dutch resistance. After various small roles and appearances in theatre and ballet, Hepburn eventually made her ‘debut’ on Broadway in 1951, starring in the play Gigi- a catapult, if you will, into her graceful acting career. Over the coming years, Audrey’s slender frame danced across the silver screen in notable films such as Roman Holiday, released in 1953, and Sabrina, released the following year in 1954. It wasn’t until 1961, that one of her most identifiable roles was debuted to the world- she starred as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s gave birth to one of the most iconically timeless looks of film and fashion history- the ever so elegant ‘little black dress’. It has been cited as one of the most memorable little black dresses of the twentieth century, and quite possibly the most of all time. The work of art was created exclusively for Audrey by Hubert de Givenchy, whom, it should be noted, claimed Audrey as his personal muse. While the look of the black sheath dress and multi strand pearl necklace with diamante hair ornament from Tiffany & Co. has been emulated by a vast amount of individuals, I must pose the question as to whether there will ever be an individual who possesses the ability to even come close to imbuing the same poise, and confidence, that Audrey did while wearing the original ensemble featured in the film. I think not.
While not only a poised style icon, who, it should also be noted, was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the International Best Dressed List, she was a sensitive humanitarian, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She made various trips to countries throughout South America, Africa, and Asia during her lifetime, with the goal of helping the impoverished, and seemingly forgotten. Her aversion to frivolity, her philanthropic endeavors, and her philosophy that, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others”, have served as a reminders that there is far more to life than merely living within the confines of your own self-existence and vanity. Even in her old age, she still possessed subtle, yet overpowering, natural beauty- yet, the stereotypes of superficiality, monetary stature, and success in the film industry, neither engulfed, nor phased her, as she full-heartedly embraced the poverty-stricken children of the aforementioned countries.
I am an individual who believes in focusing on the positive, and with that being said, I should hope that the following is not taken negatively. I find it unfortunate that so many individuals of our current, and future, generations have lost sight of what true, and natural, beauty is. For that very reason, I believe that a valuable lesson can be learned from the way that Audrey Hepburn chose to live her life, because in my personal opinion, she was not only an icon in every sense of the word, but also, beautiful in every sense of the word. Beauty is not merely things that are aesthetically appeasing and symmetrically sound, but beauty is something that must come from within. The genuine want and inclination of wanting to help others- beauty. To live honestly and genuinely, without being ostentatious or arrogant- beauty. To fully embrace the natural beauty of not only yourself, but of all individuals around you, with disregard to the idea that there are physical attributes that can be considered ‘flaws’ or ‘unsightly’- beauty.
Whether you’re a classic film fanatic, a humanitarian, a style enthusiast, or simply, a human being, I ask that the next time you see, or hear, about Audrey Hepburn, you remember that she was not a mere ‘pretty face’ of Hollywood’s Golden Age, but she was a kind and ethereal soul, who had reverence for the world and the people who were citizens of it. Happy Birthday, Audrey.
A vow to the art, till death do us part.
xx Dressed to Death xx