I know that I am not the only person in the world who loves Audrey Hepburn. I know I am not the first person to have my life changed after watching Roman Holiday or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But I can safely and confidently state that after watching, researching and loving Miss Hepburn for years, my life has been changed. There are numerous advice books, fashion blogs, etc. centered around modeling oneself after the glamorous yet humble Hollywood actress and I admit that I have succumbed into buying one or two of these books that claim to make you more “Audrey” and I have lived my life dictated by some of those rules.
Audrey Hepburn was 24 in 1953 when she starred in Roman Holiday, her debut film for which she earned the Academy Award for Best Actress. Even since the start of her fairytale career, she had been revered for her innate style sense as well as her class and poise even at such a young age. Although she was always polished, she was never a a robotic doll with no personality. She laughed, she cried, but always stayed herself while doing so.
The thing that I believe that the advice books get wrong these days is the very specific rules they set for one to be more Audrey. “Audrey would never get a tattoo.” “Audrey never showed too much skin.” “Audrey would never be seen in public in sweats.” Audrey never did do those things, but just because a person today does them, does not make them less Audrey. The most Audrey thing about Audrey was that she never let anyone dictate who she should be or how she should do it. In a time when curvy, blonde bombshells were sexy, she showed how to maker her gamine, lean body a new kind of attractive. She played a variety of different characters, from princesses to call girls to nuns, but she always did it with her signature poise and playfulness. She devoted the last years of her life to UNICEF as a goodwill ambassador to share her loving heart towards children. When she passed in 1993, she left a group of distinguished acquaintances (including close personal friend and designer Hubert de Givenchy), her beloved family and an entire legion of grieving fans behind.
I remember the first time I saw an Audrey Hepburn movie. I was in seventh grade and my mom had somehow convinced me to watch a “boring old movie” as I called it back then. It just so happened that this “boring” movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, would since then become my favorite movie, the inspiration for my favorite Halloween costume, and a model for how I wanted to live my life. She enchanted me with her lilting undistinguishable foreign accent, her amazing clothes and style and her ever present class. I didn’t just want to be like her, but I wanted to be her. Dressing and imitating Audrey does not make you less Audrey, but it does not make you more either. At risk of sounding contradictory, my only thoughts on how one can be more “Audrey” is to be less like Audrey and more like yourself. It has been almost ten years since I was first introduced to Audrey Hepburn, and she still continues to be my role model not for how to be her, but for how to be me.