Nowadays, people seem to want to find ways to maintain the fountain of youth, or at least find ways to make themselves more appealing. After all, first impressions can make or break a career move, so we try to put our best foot forward by being the best we can be.
Many of you have heard of Audrey Hepburn. We know her from films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where she wore oversized sunglasses and created a fashion statement with the little black dress. She has been recognized as both a film and fashion icon. “She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend from the Classical Hollywood cinema and was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.”1 What you might find surprising is that Hepburn was well known as a humanitarian.
Audrey Hepburn’s Hollywood glam went far beyond her physical appearance. She became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1988. Hepburn took the bull by the horns soon after and “went on a mission to Ethiopia, where years of drought and civil strife had caused terrible famine.”2 After visiting UNICEF emergency operations, Audrey talked about the projects to media in the United States, Canada, and Europe over several weeks, giving as many as 15 interviews. It set a precedent for her commitment to the organization.
In the years that followed, Audrey made a series of UNICEF field trips, visiting a polio vaccine project in Turkey, training programs for women in Venezuela, initiatives for children living and working on the streets in Ecuador, and projects to provide drinking water in Guatemala and Honduras, and radio literacy programs in El Salvador. She sought schools in Bangladesh, services for impoverished children in Thailand, nutrition initiatives in Viet Nam and camps for displaced children in Sudan.
Audrey worked fervently for UNICEF. She testified before the US Congress, took part in the World Summit for Children, launched UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children reports, hosted Danny Kaye International Children’s Award ceremonies, designed fundraising cards, participated in benefit concert tours, and gave many speeches and interviews promoting UNICEF’s work. Hepburn received the United State’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1992. That year, though ill with cancer, Audrey continued her work for UNICEF, traveling to France, Kenya, Somalia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
You might ask why I focused on Audrey Hepburn this month. The answer is simple. As I read more about her and learned more about the person, not the actress, I wondered how many people have seen us in a particular light and have not known the real us. Are we putting our best foot forward as Hepburn did, or are we only concerned with our external appearances.
Hepburn said when asked about beauty: “For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”3
Here’s to being a beautiful person!
_____________________________1 Audrey Hepburn. (2022, October 2). In Wikipedia. 2 Audrey Hepburn. (2021, July 20). In UNICEF. 3 Audrey Hepburn Quotes In-text: (“Audrey Hepburn Quotes,” 2022). Retrieved 4 October from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/audrey_hepburn_394440