Audrey Hepburn may be most famous for her iconic portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but we at She Is Fierce! believe that in honor of Women’s History Month, it is time to highlight not only Hepburn’s film career, but her humanitarian work as well.
Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. The daughter of a Dutch baroness and an English businessmen, Audrey spent most of her childhood traveling between Belgium, England, and the Netherlands. The Hepburn family finally settled in the Netherlands in 1939, and by 1940, the country was occupied by Germans as a result of WWII. At the age of 14, Audrey began helping the Dutch Resistance. Audrey would secretly dance in performances and give the money that she raised from the performances to the Dutch Resistance. When describing these performances, Audrey said, ““The best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performances.”
The Nazi invasion of the Netherlands caused great strain to the country, and resulted in the Dutch Famine of 1944. Like the rest of the Dutch population, Audrey and her family struggled to survive. It was during this time that Audrey first witnessed just how much of a difference humanitarian aid could have on a struggling nation. This moment would shape Audrey, and eventually lead to the devotion her life to humanitarian work.
Once the war ended, Audrey continued to pursue dance, which would lead her to the stage, which eventually led to her career in film. Audrey starred in many Broadway productions as well as numerous classic films, which earned her an Emmy, Tony, Grammy, and Academy Award. Audrey was known for her beauty and her grace, and remains as one of the most famous icons of all time.
After her career in the entertainment world, Audrey committed the rest of her life to the United Nations Children’s Fund, for which she became a goodwill ambassador in 1989. Audrey travelled to Africa, Asia, and Latin America more than 50 times, providing relief to the children and raising awareness on their behalf. She was awarded the United States’ highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her efforts, but she unfortunately lost her battle against colon cancer in 1993, before she could receive the award.
Audrey Hepburn will be remembered for many things. As a style icon, she is still emulated today. Her grace and elegance will never be forgotten, and neither will her heart. Audrey knew what it was like to struggle to survive, and as a result, she devoted the rest of her life to helping those who suffer just as she did. As we celebrate Women’s History this month, it is important to remember the women in history who dedicated their lives to the service of others- just as Audrey did.
The video below illustrates Audrey’s efforts as a UNICEF ambassador