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Audrey Hepburn

Text by: Ashley Shelby

Audrey Hepburn is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful women of the last century. She has won the hearts of audiences new and old with her bright eyes and disarming smile. She showed us cute and quirky in Funny Face, witty in Charade, a self-possessed woman in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and even jumped the length of the social ladder, from downtrodden flower girl to elegance itself in My Fair Lady. But these were only glimpses of Audrey, each one a mere facet of her personality. She was so much more than anyone ever saw of her on film. She was human. She was real. She carried more baggage and scars than most, but rather than keep her down, those experiences only served to make her stronger and endow her with a sense of what really mattered in life — simple things like family and freedom. That is what makes her beautiful. That is what speaks to her audiences through her films and pictures. Her inner strength, her childlike curiosity, and an effortless appreciation for all the things life has to offer.

Audrey was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1929. By the time she was six her parents had divorced, and her father had abandoned the family for whereabouts unknown. She would spend WWII in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands where she witnessed countless, daily atrocities. Although she was no older than sixteen, she used her ballet training to raise money for the Dutch Resistance by giving clandestine dance recitals. She never succumbed to depression. Instead, these horrible times would influence Audrey's positive outlook on life. "It made me resilient and terribly appreciative for everything good that came afterward," she said. "I felt enormous respect for food, freedom, for good health and family — for human life." Audrey dreamed of becoming a world-class ballerina, but sadly, she was too tall, and there were bills that needed to be paid. She chose acting, because it promised to pay more than dance.

Although she became quite famous, Audrey would never yield to the pressures of being in the spotlight. She's quoted, saying, "Truly, I've never been concerned with any public image. It would drive me around the bend if I worried about the pedestal others have put me on." Audrey never changed herself to satisfy anyone's ideal. She had learned long ago that life was too short, that your most important treasures could be taken from you in an instant, so it was paramount to make the most of every moment, every experience. Audrey's one, true love was her family, her sons. In the end, she decided that being an actress, although she enjoyed her career immensely, took too much time away from her family, and she left it behind to be a mother. When her sons were grown, Audrey devoted the remaining years of her life to UNICEF, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty for children in some of the darkest corners of the world.

Audrey Hepburn's life is commendable, but everything she did was out of love — for life, her family, and eventually the world. She was a very simple person, with very simple needs. Although she struggled with everything every human being does — self image, self confidence, and heartbreak to name a few — she never dwelled on her inadequacies but remained focused on the positives in her life. This is what made her so ethereally beautiful on screen. Her character, Eliza Doolittle, in My Fair Lady is described as having "a faraway look, as though she's always lived in a garden," and the part could not have been better cast. When one looks at Audrey, they do not merely see a beautiful face, but parts of themselves reflected back at them, as well as the wonderful qualities they aspire to possess. They see a beautiful person, inside and out.

A few tips from Audrey Hepburn…

"I believe in pink."

Audrey loved clothes and considered them a form of self-expression, a way to showcase one's inner self on the outside. When speaking on fashion, she said, "Why change? Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it," meaning wear what you feel your best in. When you feel good, you look good.

"I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner."

In today's culture, we are pressured to be thin. We get so caught up in diets and exercising that we forget to relax and have fun. Stress, itself, is a powerful trigger for many to eat. Remember, we all need to de-stress every now and then. And when you're out having fun and laughing with friends, you will be less likely to snack on whatever is close at hand.

"I believe in kissing — kissing a lot."

Kissing is an expression of love, and love is never wrong. It's terrifying to let yourself be so completely vulnerable, but the rewards are always worth it. So love fully, with every ounce of your heart, because when we give our love freely and generously, we open ourselves up to be loved in return. You never know when a kind word or gesture will make someone's day.

"I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong."

Rarely does everything go according to plan. Luckily, as human beings, we are blessed with the ability to adapt to, or work with, the situations we are given. We can make lemonade, so to speak.

"I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."

Live your life for yourself and what is important to you. Trying to make others happy rarely works, and someone always loses — usually you. All your loved ones really want is for you is to be happy, anyway, so by making yourself happy, you are, in essence, pleasing everyone.

"I believe that tomorrow is another day…"

Bad days are an inevitable part of life, and without them, you couldn't possibly appreciate the good ones. So when you fail, and you will, remember the adage, "Tomorrow is another day." It is. Learn from your mistakes and do better next time. Success is that much sweeter when you work for it.

"…and I believe in miracles."

Audrey said, "If you do not believe in miracles, then you are not a realist." Miracles happen everyday. Take a look at the beauty all around you. Creation in every form is miraculous — the creation of new life, art, even buildings.