When you hear the name Audrey Hepburn, you might merely picture an attractive actress with a good sense of style. You would not be wrong, for Audrey was one of history’s most beloved beauty icons, but there is far more to the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star than just a pretty face.
Audrey was beautiful, yes. But what set her apart from the other striking actresses in Hollywood was her unmistakable class. She carried herself with grace, confidence, and poise at all times, and radiated elegance regardless of what she was wearing or doing. Still, Audrey preferred to dress to impress. She was close friends with Hubert de Givenchy, who designed almost all of her most famous gowns (including the black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s).
Looks and style aside, many people do not realize that Audrey endured a great deal to get where she did. Audrey was born in Belgium in 1929, and when she was only six years old her father abandoned her family to become a Nazi sympathizer. Audrey’s mother moved them to the Netherlands, and it was there that Audrey began dancing ballet. Audrey danced in secret shows to raise money for the Dutch resistance: a risky act for anyone, not to mention for a young girl. Audrey was also talented in acting, and after doing some work in England was offered a chance to star in the Broadway musical “Gigi.” Her career skyrocketed thereafter, and Audrey went on to star in numerous movies and model for countless designer shoots. She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood and placed highly in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
Audrey continued to prioritize helping others, using her newfound status and affluence to assist those in need. Audrey was a firm believer in the importance of community service, and was quoted saying: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” In 1988, Audrey became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, spending five years participating in charity work for destitute children across the globe. She reported what she saw to the media and world leaders, demanding government intervention. Between 1988 and 1993, Audrey was honored for her humanitarian work, receiving awards including The Presidential Medal of Freedom, The International Humanitarian Award, The International Danny Kaye Award for Children, and The UNICEF Children’s Champion Award. Even after her death in 1993, aid for children is still being administered under her name through The Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.
Audrey continues to inspire millions on behalf of her humanitarian work, her penchant for fashion and acting, and overall good character. Her famous quote continues to serve as a reminder that true beauty takes the form of kindness: “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone”.
Graphics: Amelia Chen