Celebrating Audrey Hepburn

By Jana-Lynn

Growing up, I was never interested in Audrey Hepburn.

Not that I assumed her to be a terrible person. It just that there was something about the way women were seemingly obsessive about her just turned me off (I blame the non-conformist in me.) I never watched her films or knew much about her background but I just never delved too much into her life. I was very stand-offish.

And then the weirdest thing happened a few years ago: everyone kept giving me Audrey Hepburn gifts.

I got portraits as birthday gifts from two people who didn’t even know each other, a journal from another friend, and a framed quote from yet a different friend. And, at every gift offering, I was told “I thought you’d love this! She reminds me so much of you!” And, all I could do was sheepishly smile and thank them because I knew absolutely nothing about what they were talking about.

A few months later, while aimlessly wandering about Walmart, I ran into a movie bin filled with films that were being sold for $5. And, lo and behold, a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s was in there. I took that price tag, coupled with my random assortment of memorabilia, as an omen that maybe I should give ol’ Audrey a chance – what harm could $5 do?

I loved that movie.

Like… LOVE, love, loved loved that movie.

As I begun to research her life, I was not only introduced to so many more of her classic films (i.e. My Fair Lady, Sabrina, Charade) but I learned a lot about her life in activism and humanitarianism. She took her multi-linguistic abilities and star power and transformed her life into one built on serving the disenfranchised and raising awareness to the various crises around the globe, working tirelessly with communities in Asia, South America, and Africa. Through her time as a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF, she created housing opportunities for starving children in Ethiopia, worked in immunization camps in Turkey, and assisted in bringing in food to southern Sudan to help those who were suffering during the civil war. She also brought immunization and clean water programs to Vietnam, built water systems in Venezuela and Ecuador, and many more other projects during her almost 40 years of service with the organization.

I get mad at myself every time I think about just how long it took me to remove the stubbornness from my heart in order to experience such a wonderful and beautiful ray of light. Because, you know what? You were right. You all were right. Audrey Hepburn is a national treasure and deserves all the accolades.

So, on this day, we not only celebrate and honor the phenomenal actress with an impressive catalogue of films and plays – one of only twelve individuals to be an EGOT – but also the humanitarian whose care and passion changed the lives of hundreds and thousands of individuals around the world.

Happy birthday, Audrey Hepburn. You deserve it all.

Tell Us: What is your favorite Audrey Hepburn movie?

Jana-Lynn is part of the Contributing Writer Network here at Thirty On Tap. Apply to be a contributor here!

{featured image via telegraph.co.uk}