Lessons to live by inspired by the iconic Audrey Hepburn.
Growing up, I progressively became fascinated by Audrey Hepburn who was the simplest, kindest, classiest, sexiest, and smartest person in every room she walked in.
She stood out, had her own views of life, was educated, chose acting after failing to fulfill her dream of becoming a dancer, and turned the movies world upside down.
Reading about her and seeing her in many movies has been a great source of inspiration and motivation, and I still (and always) will carry some of her wisdom with me every day.
Here are some values Hepburn strongly defended and lived by:
1. When you do something, don’t be afraid of what could be—instead, just be and take the risk.
Her passion for acting and the variety of her role choices put her in many uncomfortable spots: she broke her back while riding a horse in “The Unforgiven,” she got bitten by a monkey in “The Nun’s Story,” and she had to dye her hair blonde for her iconic role in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” although she was not a fan of being a blonde and has never dyed her hair before.
2. Good things don’t always fall in your lap. Life is generous, but you need to do your part first.
“Acting doesn’t come easy to me. I put a tremendous amount of effort into every morsel that comes out.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
At the end of a bad time or a huge effort, Hepburn always had the prize. She put effort in her acting. For example, she wore vision-blocking contact lenses and learned to read Braille in preparation of her role in “Wait” where she played a blind character.
3. You must be strong and resilient in front of life’s challenges.
Hepburn always used what life threw her way to her own advantage. She was a ballet dancer since she was a kid. She couldn’t afford to become a professional ballerina, but she danced in secret performances to raise money for the Dutch resistance and had to stop dancing due to malnourishment.
At the time, she could only afford to eat endives and tulip bulbs, but eventually, much later on, she played a ballerina prodigy in “Secret People” and did all of the dance sequences herself due to her many years of training and practicing.
4. It is essential to own your words and values and not settle for what could bend them or break them throughout your personal and professional life.
Hepburn had qualms about playing the role of Holly Golightly in the hit movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” as she thought the role was for a lady of the evening, which was a role she did not want to portray, until Martin Jurow, her producer, convinced her that the role is for a lopsided, romantic, and dreamer of dreams. She found herself more at ease to play such roles, as she now believed in the message it conveyed.
She also took some time off in the end of her first pregnancy to enjoy it and the delivery process, as she believed that life cannot be complete without having a loving family.
5. You shall practice what you preach.
Hepburn was hopeful and optimistic all the way and believed in the possibility of creating miracles regularly in her daily life; this is why she was a Goodwill ambassador in UNICEF and believed in their mission. Her multilingual speech abilities in Dutch, English, French, Italian, and Spanish were a great help within the organization; she was described as an “inspiration.”
6. Passion is the fuel to success.
She was significantly passionate and loved what she did. She always said, “I am proud to have been in a business that gives pleasure, creates beauty, awakens our conscience, arousing compassion, and perhaps, more importantly, gives millions a respite from our so violent world.” Hepburn thrived when people told her one of her movies put a smile on their face.
7. Appreciation of every single detail is key.
Hepburn was grateful to all her directors who appreciated her talents and instincts and created something beautiful that appealed to the audience at that particular time in history. And in her personal life, she loved her family and put so much effort into keeping it in good shape.
8. Defy what scares you the most, and brilliance will come out.
Acting terrified the bejesus out of her; it was against her introverted nature and isolated self, yet she always challenged herself and delivered the best performances, won multiple awards for her acting, and used the preparation phase and what comes after the filming in her thought process to be able to film without shaking in terror.
Hepburn is a phenomenal actress of her time.
She left behind a legacy that not only resides in the movie theaters but also in our daily lives and in the smallest things that can make us happier beings.