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The Salute To Audrey Hepburn Blogathon: What Audrey Means To Me

hepburn-blogathon-banner-1Janet over at Sister Celluloid is hosting this blogathon in memory of Audrey Hepburn. If she was still with us, Audrey Hepburn would be celebrating her 90th birthday today. 

Be sure to visit Janet’s site to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself. Instead of writing about one of Audrey’s films, I’ve decided instead to write about what Audrey Hepburn means to me. 

When I was growing up in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, I was something of a major outcast at school. I loved watching classic films and reading, and I much preferred to be doing either of those two things than to be involved with any of the latest trends or mass interests. That singled me out.   

I was also different from others due to disability. I’m Autistic and I suffered quite a lot of bullying during my high school years due to this. School was a very lonely and upsetting place for much of the time. My parents told me to just ignore the idiots picking on me, and believe me when I say that I tried very hard to do just that. But it’s very difficult sometimes when you have to be around bullies five days a week! You’re probably thinking, what on earth has all this got to do with our birthday girl, Audrey Hepburn. Well, I’ll tell you. 

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Audrey as Holly Golightly. Screenshot by me.

One day(somewhere around 2000 or 2001) I saw a film whose lead character, and the actress playing the lead character, really took my interest and had a big impact on me.

The film was Breakfast At Tiffany’s. The actress was Audrey Hepburn. The character was Holly Golightly. Here was a character who was quirky and unique; someone who went against social norms and expectations and just did her own thing. 

Holly is also someone who puts on a brave and happy face to hide inner pain.I could relate to her so much. I loved the film because it was about a misfit. I saw something of myself in Holly. This was the first time that I had ever had such a reaction to a film character. This is going to sound really weird, but I didn’t feel so alone being who I was after seeing this film.  

I was also left feeling very intrigued by Audrey Hepburn herself. At this point in my life(my early teens) I had already been a classic film fan for some years. I was already familiar with Audrey, having seen her in My Fair Lady, but it wasn’t until seeing Breakfast At Tiffany’s that I found myself wanting to see more of her work and to learn more about her as a person.

                      Two of my favourite shots of Audrey in this film. Screenshots by me.

I loved the way that Audrey played Holly. I especially loved the vulnerability and the humour that she brought to that character. Audrey made me emotionally connect with Holly in a way that I hadn’t really done before with any other character on screen. I became a fan of Audrey Hepburn, not only because she was a terrific actress, but also because she was a genuine and decent human being off screen. Audrey was a kind and compassionate soul. She did so much for charity and she treated everyone(ordinary and famous people alike)with equal amounts of kindness and politeness. 

Audrey also went against trends and what was expected of her by society at large. Audrey dressed in her own way and just did whatever was comfortable to her. Audrey also ended up becoming a style icon for her unique looks and dress sense. Ironically she never actually thought very highly of her own looks(girl, you were gorgeous!) and often said she felt that her feet were way too big. She was someone who I could identify with because she was a unique individual who didn’t try to be like other people. I love that Audrey stayed true to herself throughout her entire life.

After seeing Breakfast At Tiffany’s, I then sought out more of Audrey’s work. She soon became one of my favourite actresses. She glowed on screen and stole every scene she appeared in. When Audrey is on screen it’s impossible to focus that much on the other actors. She is such a good actress and I love how natural and effortless her performances seem.

I love her transformation from unhappy Princess to happy and independent woman in Roman Holiday. I love her performance as the troubled young Nun in The Nun’s Story(I think she delivers her best performance in this film). I love her sweetness and elegance in the romantic classic Sabrina. I love her hilarious multiple performances in the underrated filmmaking spoof Paris When It Sizzles. I love her comic performance opposite Cary Grant in Charade(why did these two never get paired together again?). 

                      Faces of Audrey. Screenshots by me of Audrey in Sabrina, My Fair Lady, The Nun’s Story and Roman Holiday. 

My favourite Audrey Hepburn films are Roman Holiday, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Nun’s Story, Sabrina, Paris When It Sizzles, How To Steal A Million, Two For The Road, Charade, My Fair Lady.

I love how Audrey oozed decency, humility and kindness. She brought so much joy to so many people over the years. For someone who gave joy to so many, Audrey herself sadly endured much pain and sorrow in her personal life. She had difficulties having children and tragically suffered a number of miscarriages over the years, before finally being able to give birth to her two sons, Sean and Luca. Audrey also had quite a sad and difficult childhood. Audrey’s father left her family in 1935. Young Audrey also suffered from malnutrition during WW2 and saw many traumatic things linked to the war. Audrey also bravely helped the Dutch resistance by carrying and delivering messages, and also by performing dance routines to raise money for them. Audrey’s personal experiences go to show that you never know what pain and difficult life experiences are hiding behind a smiling face. 

Audrey Hepburn was one of the best actress of the classic film era. I love how she really makes you feel what her characters are going through emotionally. She was a very emotive actress who brought a great deal of depth to her characters,and did so in a way that not all actors can manage to do. Audrey Hepburn continues to bring joy to classic film fans around the world. Her film performances and her fashion style remain timeless. She also remains beloved for who she was as a person off screen too. 

I like to think that Audrey would be touched by how much love there still is for her today. She is someone I would dearly have loved to have met. Audrey never knew it, but her uniqueness has helped me to find the strength to be myself. I thank her for that. She will always have a special place in my heart. 

Are you a fan of Audrey and her films? Please share your thoughts on this great lady.

20 thoughts on “The Salute To Audrey Hepburn Blogathon: What Audrey Means To Me”

  1. I think that Audrey would have been incredibly humbled by your words. She could never seem to fully grasp the effect she had on people because she was wonderfully unselfish and giving. However, she would have undoubtedly wept tears of joy for you finding happiness and solace through her work. 🤗
    Your story is precious, Maddy, and you should be proud of yourself for having the courage to love yourself for who you are and the attributes that make you different. It’s not an easy thing to do. I will have my 13-year-old autistic daughter read your words as encouragement, to show her that she is not alone either. Thank you, Audrey, for creating this positive domino effect and to Maddy for this beautiful article. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a lovely message, Erica. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. 🤗
      I hope your daughter finds the courage to be herself, and that she doesn’t worry too much about what others may think of her because she is Autistic.

      I think you are right about Audrey not fully realising her impact on others because she was so unselfish.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maddy, I am so glad that you were able to make a connection with classic films generally, and Audrey Hepburn in particular. I totally abhor bullying of any kind, and am so sorry that you had to endure the taunts of those school yard idiots, but it is wonderful that you found an escape in the form of the films we love so much.

    My eldest son is 24, and has Asperger’s syndrome. His passion is transport and travel, and he has absolutely no interest in the cinema whatsoever, and yet… he absolutely adores Laurel and Hardy films! There is something about their charming antics which appeal to him, a feeling I totally share.

    I can completely understand how Audrey Hepburn would have appealed to you at such a vulnerable time. She always came across as such a gracious, kindly person, borne out by her tireless work for UNICEF, and she carried herself with an air of someone ‘out of the ordinary’, but never superior or aloof. For me, she absolutely sparkled in How To Steal A Million; The Children’s Hour; and Paris When It Sizzles, but her poise and charm came through in all her work. I am so glad that she ‘spoke to you’, and helped you rise above the negativity and stupidity of those who tried to make you feel isolated during your formative years.

    More power to you, Maddy, and thanks for taking the time to share your enthusiasm with the rest of us.

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    1. Thank you so much, M. Yeah, life is hard enough for everyone without the bullies making things worse!

      Laurel and Hardy have a universal appeal. I love that they ‘speak’ to your son, despite him not being interested in films.

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  3. Thank you so much, Maddy, for joining the blogathon and sharing your thoughts on what Audrey means for you. I think we all have certain stars we feel that way about, who’ve gotten us through the darkest times.

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  4. Thank you for sharing such a personal article. Finding someone, a character, and an actress, who can be a comfort, and help you realize your worth and potential is very special. There are many fine actresses to admire, but only one Audrey Hepburn who could touch another soul in such a way.

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  5. What a beautiful tribute to a lovely human being. I too preferred reading and classic films to socializing when I was growing up. They were my escape and my comfort. I love visiting other worlds and living vicariously through fictional people. I’m so glad that you found something which helped you through those awkward years too.

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  6. Maddy, this is a lovely post.
    As already said, art has the power to heal and even if the artist is gone, their art lives on and has the power to help us. I’m sure Audrey would be very touched by your story.

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  7. This is absolutely lovely. Audrey would’ve been so moved by your courage. Keep holding onto her, for it’s that light she had that made the world a better place, as you surely have.

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  8. What a touching heartfelt post! Am glad Audrey helped you when you needed you the most. She has the capability of doing that, from beyond the grave. Like an angel looking down on you.
    Sorry to hear about your school days (mine wern’t great either). In school, and most of my life, I actually thought there was something badly wrong with me (as I was made to believe); but now I know, it’s not, there is something wrong with everyone else 😀
    Be Unique, be yourself!! Audrey Hepburn was, you & I are; a rare great few out there, with a brain of their own, a good kind heart, who dare to live their own lives and not conform to others wishes. It’s difficult, but never lose your way, to please judgemental others.
    Take Care ❤

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