Wednesday Woman…

So many women stand out to me that are influential & inspiring to me. I wanted to take time to go through some of the lives of each. So Wednesday’s posts will be discovering the lives of those that are intriguing to me.

First up is the beautiful actress & activist, Audrey Hepburn. She was the first Autobiography that I read as an elementary kid. Yup you read that right! Instead of reading the R.L. Stine books or Babysitters Club series this girl here was enamored by the lives of some of the most captivating women in history. My curiosity of Audrey started off after I sat to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s with my Mom & sister. I absolutely loved everything about the movie! From the costumes & signing to the storyline.

Audrey Kathleen Ruston was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. Audrey was the only child to her mother Ella Van Heemstra and father Joseph Ruston. She studied ballet at a young age in Amsterdam with then famous ballerina, Dame Marie Lambert. Audrey’s father married her mother because of her connection to the 4th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn. He was the 3rd Husband to Mary Queen of Scots. He actually ended up using it for Audrey’s name but also hyphenating it into his own. Then he split, he was gone from Audrey & Ella’s life when she was only 6 years of age.

Both of Audrey’s parents had ties to Facisim & she ended up living in Arnhem, South Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It was the middle of a war zone for her growing up. It was said she used to have to dance for money to assist her mother.

After the war Audrey wanted to resume her dreams of becoming a ballerina however, years of malnutrition did not aid her in this feat. So she decided to try her hand at acting/modeling. Her first film was in 1948, Dutch in Seven Lessons.

Her second film was made in 1952, Secret People was her dancing debut, I can only imagine how it thrilled her to have her craft included in the movie. Eventually Audrey’s career began to take off & she was starting to perfect her new love for acting. Her works are notably, Monte Carlo Baby, Roman Holiday (a favorite of mine!), Sabrina, Funny Face, My Fair Lady & Breakfast at Tiffany’s just to name a few. See her the full list here.

Audrey was known for being a humanitarian. In the 1950;s she was said to read stories of the war aloud the radio for children for UNICEF. She was also appointed the Goodwill Ambassador in 1989. Her first mission for UNICEF was in 1989 to Ethiopia. I can only imagine how the trip to that orphanage changed her life. How could it not? She followed that trip with a tour to Turkey & then another to Central America. I read stories of Audrey much as Mother Teresa, carrying & holding sick and dirty children. She didn’t care of catching disease or what not she was most interested in creating change & showing empathy.

President, George H.W. Bush even presented Audrey with the Presidential Metal of Freedom for her activism & loyalty as a humanitarian. She did all these tours while still being a mother to her two children, Sean Ferrer (Father was Actor/Producer, Mel Ferrer & their marriage ended in 1968) & Luca Dotti (Father was Psychiatrist, Andrea Dotti & their marriage ended in 1982). She later went on to marry Dutch Television Actor, Robert Wolders.

In 1992 Audrey began to have abdominal pains that prompted her to have medical exams completed. She was found to have a rare type of abdominal cancer, Pseudomyxoma peritonei. After her surgery to remove the tumor, it was followed with chemotherapy. On January 20, 1993 Audrey Hepburn passed away in her sleep.

I guess her life to me was that of kindness. She saw so much in her younger years that it seemed she dedicated to life to children that experienced scenarios much like her own. Such a beautiful soul & legacy that she has left behind.

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.” -Audrey Hepburn