audrey hepburn

When people hear the name Audrey Hepburn, the words beauty, style and grace come to mind. Others know her as cute and flirty characters from movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sabrina. However, Audrey’s life amounted to more than just a big screen entertainer or fashion leader. She was a dignified, compassionate and selfless woman who was beautiful beyond the physical sense. Long before Oprah, Madonna or Angelina and Brad, she helped children in Africa and Latin-America.

Audrey Hepburn remains a beloved icon with proven success as an actress, dancer, singer, speaker and UNICEF’s most famous Ambassador. She lived her life by the philosophy of serving others. As she once said, “Remember; if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others” (Bourgoin). Audrey Hepburn dedicated herself to aiding those in need while living a remarkable life as a true humanitarian and an inspiration to people around the world.

Hepburn’s childhood made a long-lasting impression on her adult years. Her experiences as a young girl changed her outlook on life and even impacted her actions in adulthood. She experienced many hardships, disappointments and frustrations growing up. Yet through all of this, she learned perseverance and determination. At an early age, Audrey Hepburn’s father walked out on the family. Soon after, her mother sent her to boarding school in England where she studied ballet. It was a lonely and challenging time for such a young girl.

The discipline of dance and her rigorous studies, while living away from her family, made it very difficult on Audrey. In 1937, her parents formally divorced and she returned home to her mother. This preceded the outbreak of World War II. Audrey and her mom moved to Holland where they thought they would be safe. Unfortunately, it was far from that. The Nazi invasion began and they lived in very harsh conditions. Audrey was deprived of food and warm shelter. She suffered malnutrition and other serious health issues.

Looking back as an adult, Hepburn described the experience as a fearful, depriving event, yet she viewed it as a great learning opportunity. “Being without food, fearful for one’s life, the bombings–all made me appreciative of safety, of liberty. In that sense, I learned the bad experiences have become positive in my life” (Hellstern 11). As a result of all that happened to Audrey, she began to draw herself deeply into the art of music, dancing and acting, where she later earned great fame and success.

She won many awards for her works including an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Roman Holiday, a Tony Award for her performance in Ondine, a Theater World Award for her work on Broadway in the play, Gigi, amongst many other honors. During these times, she became an idol of many young girls and women who admired her unique, elegant style. The public truly adored her talent, beauty and glamour. Audrey was proud of her accomplishments; however, she felt that she needed to do more with her life.

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