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Why Audrey Hepburn is My Role Model

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Even 60 years after the release of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the image of Audrey Hepburn in her iconic little black dress as she gazes into the windows of 5th Avenue’s Tiffany’s store is an integral part of pop culture. However, many people don’t know much about the woman behind the character of Holly Golightly. Audrey Hepburn was a talented actress, a fashion icon, a humanitarian and also a role model. She redefined what it meant to be a woman at that time and showed that beauty shines through from the inside out.

I first saw Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” when I was in high school. I remember being enthralled by her. I had been going through a phase where I was really interested in 1950s films, and I immediately knew that she was something different from the norm at the time. In a world of Ingrid Bergmans, Grace Kellys and Marilyn Monroes, she managed to be something entirely different yet still beautifully real.

As much as I love and admire the women previously mentioned, I felt that I could relate to Audrey and see myself in her on a much deeper level. I could relate to her character’s curiosity and desire for freedom; the scene where she cut her hair in “Roman Holiday” stuck with me for a long time. Her performance in this film won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.

After seeing “Roman Holiday,” I decided to find out who Audrey Hepburn was outside of her character. I learned that she grew up in Belgium during World War II. She survived the Dutch famine and even helped raise money for Dutch resistance efforts. She also suffered from health problems as a result of malnutrition that continued into her adult life.

Her experiences during this time were nothing but traumatic. To see her rise above these experiences and become the woman she would be was awe-inspiring. Despite the efforts to silence her and her people, she grew into a successful and beautiful young woman with the acting career she had always dreamed of.

I watched more of Audrey’s films, with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Sabrina” being two of my favorites. Especially with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” I found myself relating heavily to her character and moved by the way Audrey portrayed her. I saw myself in the woman who was unsure of what she wanted and who she was. I liked how Audrey portrayed her as someone who was worthy of love despite her flaws. It gave me similar hope for myself.

As someone who loves fashion, I also admired her reputation as a fashion icon. She cultivated an elegant, classy look that was simple to recreate. At the same time, it was very distinctly her. A short hairstyle, a little black dress and ballet flats were just a few of the pieces that she made popular. Her contributions to high fashion with Hubert de Givenchy were similarly iconic. I could see why she was his muse. Her impact on fashion continues today.

What I admire most about Audrey Hepburn is that she used her fame for good. She contributed much of her later life to being a UNICEF ambassador. She went on field missions and worked directly with children dealing with starvation and poverty. She spoke on these issues and was able to raise awareness. When I declared one of my majors in International Social Justice, I had her and her work in humanitarianism in mind. She inspired me to be a force of elegance and good.

I think anyone could benefit from looking back on Audrey Hepburn and her career. She was so much more than an actress and the face of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” but rather a woman that we should all strive to be more like. We can start by being unapologetically ourselves and dedicating ourselves to making the world a better place.

Mackenzie Meleski is a passionate writer for Her Campus at VCU. She is currently double majoring in International Studies and Mass Communications. She loves her two cats, Leo and Loki, and her dog, Lucy. You will probably find her online shopping or watching reruns of The Great British Bake Off.
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