On Audrey Hepburn

In my dream I was carrying an Air France Ziplock bag. She was in a slideshow - Audrey Hepburn, that is, as an example for someone to look up to. She was an example of elegance and diplomacy, entertainment and conviction. Frailty and flexibility. Can I say fashion and fun? As a victim of World War II, she was a child of fascist parents, but despite their leanings, she developed a humanitarian motivation and would end up being an ambassador for UNICEF when she was much older.

But before that, she made movies that ranged from ridiculous to disappointing. Her characters were completely dull and stereotypical. (Everything other than Audrey Hepburn with a cat and a cigarette holder is complete trash in the Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I encourage you to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and have a tissue at hand.) But she did take the role over Marilyn Monroe, who was the more obvious call girl. The role was rewritten for a mysterious brunette bachelorette whose flippancy was watered down by a somber past. No blond could play as serious a woman as that.

As was Hollywood tradition, she married multiple times, but kept an even narrative with no great blowups, she was not highly lusted after or sexualized. Like the little black dress that blends into the room. She didn’t make much noise, so she seemed to go where she pleased.

Indeed, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Unique, rebellious, and in that way, was able to create her own identity. She never belonged to any one career or to any one person. She continued as you would step over stones on a lake. With focus and mild direction.

She wasn’t really ever an actress. When you think of Audrey Hepburn you think about her line. The way she moved. Her body. Funny Face is an entire movie of Hepburn in different haute couture. And the great scene in which she dances for a long time. Her frame that later came idealized is said to have come from malnutrition when she and her family were starved during the Nazi invasion of Holland.

She was a icon for beauty, simplicity, and fashion. One of her greatest achievements was Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn that ran through Perennial Productions and for which she won an Emmy. The entire show was Hepburn in the 90’s investigating the gardens of the world.

When I think of her I think of the quiet actions she made through her life. Physical gestures and features. Neutral and with restraint. But this mastery of neutrality allowed her ultimate freedom of identity.