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Audrey Hepburn: Just Do Your Thing

We could all learn a lot about how to navigate life from the tasteful and classy lips of Audrey Hepburn. She once remarked, 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.

Audrey Hepburn had that je ne sais quoi that is still very much relevant and important today; her legacy is for all ages to treasure.
Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo is a beautiful book to introduce to children so they can learn to know and appreciate the generous and kind spirit and character that was the resonating soul of Audrey Hepburn. I had the pleasure of meeting Manolo Blahnik last year and I remember him saying how sad he was that more young people don’t know who Audrey Hepburn was. Cardillo is changing that.

The theme throughout Cardillo’s Just Being Audrey is what Audrey’s baroness mother taught her from early on, to be kind above all. This is such an important message for children as they struggle with bullies throughout their school career. I cannot think of a better message for a child than to be kind to others and be happy with who they are. Like Audrey used to say, I just do my thing. Even adults can benefit from this message.
Audrey said, If I'm honest, I have to tell you I still read fairy tales, and I like those best of all 

I love that she kept a bit of “little girl” in her as she grew older. Another treasure she made besides her many movies was an audio theatre called Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales.  I have the CD in my car and my children and I love to listen to her read fairy tales like: The Sleeping Princess, Tom Thumb, Laideronette, Empress of the Pagodas, and Beauty and the Beast. Listening to her read I can watch my children drifting into the stories being hypnotized by her voice, they use their imagination to paint pictures in their heads. It is magical!

Audrey Hepburn has always been an important idol for me, since I was an early teen watching her movies. I still want to be like Audrey, from her style, work ethic, but most of all her kind heart. 
I remember watching her movies over and over again (I still do). I think I mentally recreated the scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she sang Moon River countless times. She loved culture and knew five languages. She had aspirations of being a ballerina, and a zest for life, a joie de vivre that you could see in her twinkling eyes.
I have always believed that culture is a gift that helps one appreciate and love life to the fullest. There are very few people in this world who have that radiant sparkle that is generated simply by being so extremely beautiful on the inside. Audrey was just that, a true beauty that radiated from the inside out and she lead life with her kind heart.
Audrey is the perfect idol for women of all ages because she was so kind, had good values, integrity, gratitude... She is the kind of woman you want your daughter to have as a role-model. Audrey developed her own style rather than copying someone else’s. Her physical shape was not a typical body type and she accepted hers, creating a truly unique and elegant style by going with what she had and not changing herself to fit another mold. It is very important for young girls to learn to be comfortable with their own bodies.
Audrey was slender, childlike, elegant, charming, and the most eloquent speaker. I love listening to her lovely European accent.  I could listen to her recite poetry all day like she did in Roman Holiday with Keats: Arethusa rose from her couch of snows in the Acroceraunian mountains.
She was born near Brussels on May 4, 1929 and originally named Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston by a Dutch aristocratic baroness mother and an English father.
Educated in London, she began her ballet training at the age of five. During World War II, she and her mother were caught by the Nazis in Holland. Audrey’s family endured much hardship during the occupation; I read she ate tulip bulbs when they ran out of food.
After the war she continued dancing and began to act and model. This lead to her being noticed by the author Colette who placed her in Gigi; from there her acting career took off. She was also noticed by Hubert de Givenchy and became his muse.
She was very much like Cinderella; even the roles she took had a fairy tale charm…Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s each show a magical transformation. In living her life she made the same sort of transformations. Audrey worked hard to make her life better; then when life got better, she wanted to make it better for others.
Hepburn was in dozens of films throughout her life, winning an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Emmy. She was one of the most celebrated actresses ever. Acting was not her only calling; she was a natural mother. It is completely evident in the photos of Audrey hugging her babies. She had so much love to give to her two sons Sean and Luca. 
Audrey loved children and very much wanted to give all of herself to help them. Having survived the war, she knew all too well the feeling of hunger. Using her celebrity status she raised awareness and worked with UNICEF, traveling to Africa and Latin America. She said, I just decided to do as much as possible in the time that I’m still up to it.
As I reflect on Audrey I enjoy thinking of Lauren Bush using her celebrity status to FEED  children like Audrey.
Through all that she experienced and saw, Audrey never became bitter. She kept her warmth and childlike charm, and her heart continued to grow.
My favorite Audrey Hepburn quote and words to live by: I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Illustrations by Julia Denos

1 comment:

  1. Yep Audrey Hepburn was awesome - such joie de vivre and elegance. I have not seen all her movies, but her spirit shines in the few that I have.

    Another icon of that era I admire is Sophie Loren - for being such a great mother, staying true to her vision of a family and still looking wonderful while crediting pasta for her figure. :)