Audrey Hepburn is a name that almost anyone could recognize on the spot, and she is best known for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But this Hollywood starlet was so much more than just her on-screen performances. Let me tell you a bit about her fascinating life.
- She was born in 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. At the beginning of her childhood, she spent most of her time there and in England. When World War II broke out, her parents moved her to the Netherlands, where they thought they could all be safe in a neutral country. However, we all know that that was not the case, and the Germans did eventually invade and occupy the country. Hepburn, a teenager at the time, did not sit back and watch the war going on outside of her window. She became a courier for the resistance, meaning she would deliver letters between members. Guards were less likely to search children, so it was easier for them to move freely. She also donated any money she made from ballet recitals back to the cause. Despite all of her efforts, though, she and her mother faced extreme poverty and at times went for days without eating. Later in life, Hepburn would be idolized for her thin, boyish frame due to her starvation during the war. A lesser-known fact about Audrey and the war is that her parents were Nazi Sympathizers. Some believe that the family left England because her father was too outspoken about his beliefs and fled. While in Holland, Audrey’s parents divorced, but they both continued to subtly add the German war effort.
- Audrey was a humanitarian at heart, and years after her acting career, she was still involved in making the world a better place, specifically through UNICEF. Her main focus was helping starving children worldwide, most likely because of her own experience as a child. She went on her first mission with UNICEF in 1988 to Ethiopia. From there, she would go on upwards of 50 other mission trips bringing food donations with her. It was such a large part of her life she had a charity set up in her honour when she died. It is known as the Audrey Hepburn Society through the United States Fund for UNICEF. There is also a statue dedicated to her in UNICEF’s headquarters in New York.
- Audrey’s personal life had significantly less drama than some of the other stars I have talked about before, but that doesn’t mean that none existed. While he was still a senator, Audrey dated John F. Kennedy. It was a quick and quiet relationship, unlike the affair he had with Marilyn Monroe. Audrey sang happy birthday to JFK the year after Marilyn did, but it received significantly less coverage. She was involved in an affair with William Holden, who was notorious for sleeping with his co-stars. His wife tended not to mind, and she always believed they meant nothing. Audrey posed a threat to her, though, and Holden did come close to leaving his wife. However, Audrey desperately wanted children, and Holden didn’t. Eventually, their flame sputtered out, and she began to date Mel Ferrer. Audrey’s managers wanted to quash any rumours that she was in love with Holden, so they had Mel propose to her at a party at Holden’s house, in front of him and his wife. Together Mel and Audrey had their son Sean before getting a divorce after 13 years of marriage. Two years later, she married Andrea Dotti, and they had their son Luca a year later. She married a third time to Robert Wolders, who she stayed with until her death.
As for her professional career, her big break came when she starred in Gigi on Broadway. From there, she went on to shoot Roman Holiday, which rocketed her to stardom. She then went back to Broadway to play the lead role in Ondine, where she met her future husband, Mel. She returned to movie-making in Sabrina before going back to theatre and starring in the musical Funny Face. She bounced back once again for the film War and Peace and then The Nun’s Story. After that, she most famously starred in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for which she will always be known.
- On top of that, she is one of 14 people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. She won her Grammy for a narrated kids book called Audrey Hepburn’s Enchanted Tales. Some say this is the only way she would have won, given that she did not have a strong singing voice.
- Now, onto her beauty routine and how she managed to look so young; for starters, every good beauty routine is complemented by a great diet. As often as you may hear it, water is a huge part of maintaining a healthy diet, and Audrey would drink tons of it. Especially on her detox days. Now, these weren’t like juice cleanses or anything that would typically be a part of an extreme diet; they were meant to help her reset and recover from jet lag. She would drink intense amounts of water about once a month and eat only fruits, vegetables, and yogurt. She wasn’t strictly a vegetarian, but she didn’t eat meat all that often, and when she did, it was only in small doses. The great thing about her diet is that it was full of potatoes, which many of you may be glad to hear. Her son, Luca, attributes this to her being Dutch and her father being from Ireland. He also said that he believes she stayed looking so young just because she was joyful. Luca noted that even the slightest little discovery would make her as happy as a child with a new toy. She had a zest for life right up until the very end. She also was not afraid to get old. Of course, she complained from time to time about having her gray hair, but she was not afraid to age; she embraced it.
- The other big secret to her glowing skin was avoiding the sun. We all know that the sun can cause wrinkles and skin cancer, so she made sure to limit the amount of time she spent outside. When she couldn’t help but be out, she insisted on wearing SPF no matter what. She wanted to protect her skin at all costs. She emphasized that if your skin wasn’t well taken care of, that usually meant something else was going on, Healthwise. She made sure to get enough fresh air and sleep to keep her skin shining. A rather unconventional approach that she took was using Greek yogurt as a face mask. She would apply it and leave it on for thirty minutes before washing it off. The lactic acid works wonders for exfoliating, while the yogurt helped to moisturize. The yogurt mask combined with oils and moisturizers kept her skin nice and hydrated. She also made sure to remove her makeup every day without fail thoroughly. She used soap and water, though we know how to use such harsh products on our skin.
- Speaking of makeup, she was best known for her doe eyes and achieving this was a three-step process. The first was her eyebrows, which she kept full yet feminine. They framed her eyes perfectly, and that was her goal. Next was her signature cat-eye. Her steps are as follows:
- First, look at yourself in the mirror and decide where you want the tip to end up. Audrey herself kept it short, but that is up for personal preference. However, it has to be at a 45-degree angle; this was non-negotiable. Take your liquid eyeliner and place a small dot once you know where you want it to end.
- Next, you are going to tilt your head back and look down at the mirror. The goal here is to make a line from one corner of your eye to the other. Audrey would do this in one swift motion, keeping it as close to the waterline as possible. The important thing is to stop at the outer corner of your eye.
- The third is to connect the dot you made earlier to the line. Again, it was essential to maintain the perfect angle.
- Finally, thicken it up and smooth out the lines. Now you have the perfect eyeliner for your doe-shaped eyes.
- The last and most crucial step is eyelashes. Audrey’s makeup artist Alberto De Rossi famously and painstakingly separated each of her eyelashes before and after applying mascara. He did this by taking a safety pin and pulling them apart. This is, of course, incredibly dangerous, so later in life, Audrey switched to using a lash comb, specifically the Tweezer man folding lash comb. Even so, her makeup artist was incredibly special to her. When he died, she commented that she would instead not act again than have to go on and perform without him to do her makeup. Her commitment to him was beautiful.
- Another part of Audrey’s beauty was her scent or, rather, several signature scents. In 1957, she commissioned Givenchy to make her a perfume exclusively for her to wear. He hired perfumer Francis Fabron to make the scent, and he delivered. Givenchy L’Interdit has hints of orange blossom, white poppy, musk and tuberose. Famously, it got its name when Givenchy mentioned selling to the broader public, and Audrey told him that she forbid it. L’Interdit is French for the forbidden. Of course, by the end of the 1960s, the perfume was available in stores, but it is still synonymous with the actress. She also wore the Creed Spring Flower Fragrance, which was designed for her as well. It was made in 1951 and also had musky notes. This fragrance did not hit shelves until 1996, long after Givenchy’s perfume. Today, a third perfume that can still be bought in stores is Krigler’s English Promenade 19 Perfume, a citrus floral inspired by the Italian Riviera.
- Perfumes are not the only beauty items that you can still find in the store. After years on set having her hair styled with heat, it was incredibly damaged. She reached out to hair and scalp specialist Philip Kingsley for some help. He sent her his Elasticizer Pre Shampoo Treatment. She swore that within a few uses, her hair was healthier than it had ever been before. Supposedly she would import jars of it from the US when she moved to Switzerland.
- I know I already mentioned her skincare routine before, but I wanted to highlight one product, in particular, the Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar. Charcoal in colour was meant to purify the skin without stripping it. Audrey swore by this bar and even credited its creator quite a bit. She was once reported saying she owed 50% of her beauty to her mother and the other 50% to Erno. She was not the only one who believed in his work, as he was the dermatologist to many other stars, including Marilyn Monroe.
- I wanted to highlight the last beauty product is the Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick, specifically in the shade eccentric. She said on multiple occasions how much she loved all of their products, but this specific shade may have been what she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This is not confirmed, though, as it was never revealed. Most people believe it was either this shade or Mocha Pink, but the latter shade has since been discontinued.