Category: Featured

Intimate Audrey

Hello, hello!

I hope everybody had a lovely time over the holidays, and I’d like to wish you a belated happy new year! I’ve been anticipating the ’20s for a while now, and I’m not-so-secretly hoping that the fashion and the music in this next decade take some cues from the original Roaring ’20s. But we can leave behind a Great Depression and Prohibition! In fact, speaking of legalizing things (and considering I spent my New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam!), I’m really hoping the ’20s are also a decade in which cannabis can be legalized around the world. It’s far more useful, and less harmful, than alcohol, and it’s absolutely medicinal – and essential even, to some people. I hope governments can make a rational decision and make it legal again. Oh there are so many areas in which I hope we make some leaps and bounds towards a better world where we all have more freedom… we’ve come pretty far since the 1920’s but still have so far to go. Anyway… back to Audrey!

I spent my holidays in the Netherlands, with my boyfriend and his family, near Arnhem. Yes, I now officially have a boyfriend! And, like many important people in my life, I can, in a way, thank Audrey for introducing us. But we’ll save that story for another time!

Being so close to Amsterdam, and knowing about the Intimate Audrey exhibit, I decided to go see it as part of my research. The exhibit was created by her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer, and was previously on display in Brussels. I hadn’t managed to include that as a stop in my summer travels, but now that it was in Holland, and I was spending a lot of time in Holland, well… how could I not?

Mittens are the bee’s knees!

We drove up to Amsterdam on a Saturday and parked the car in our secret “cheap” spot (discovered on New Year’s Eve), and then made the half hour walk over to the Beurs van Berlage. We first had a nice hot coffee and an apple crumble in the adjacent café (mmmmmmm!) before heading into the exhibit.

About two hours later, we emerged. The time definitely flew by! I can’t even remember how many rooms and walls were covered with photos of Audrey. I always tell myself I should take notes or make better mental notes, but no. I’m usually so in the moment that it just doesn’t happen. But I can tell you that it started with a small room with pictures of her parents’ families. Or at least the Van Heemstras. I could only pick out the photos with her mother as a grown woman, or Audrey as a small girl. I didn’t recognize anybody else, and there were no explanations to help us out. It’s always fascinating to look at photos from over a century ago, but I would have loved to know more about the people we were looking at. But as the girl at the reception/gift shop desk told us as we entered, it was more of an “experience” than a record of her life.

There were photos from Audrey’s childhood, and some sweet pictures of her with her brother, Ian, probably in her early 20’s. There were pictures from her wedding to Mel Ferrer, and candid photos with some of her Hollywood friends. Her wedding dress was there, and next to it, a small case with her two gold wedding rings. I was most excited about these, as I’ve designed a recreation ring with a 3D printing company (you can check that out here!). Finally! In person! The rings appeared slightly wider than the one I designed, but otherwise, were identical. You could tell that she favoured the white gold ring (so would I – I’ve had this thing for white gold since I discovered it as a teen!), as the facets were more worn than the ones on the yellow gold ring. Nearby was a cloth napkin with their wedding dinner menu on it, and some old sayings written in German that we tried to translate but mostly failed to understand.

We were not allowed to take pictures of any of the photos (and I assume the rings) in the exhibit, though I sure would have liked to! It was lovely to be able to see some ‘new’ photos of Audrey. Especially candid, off-set pictures. Many of her childhood drawings were also on display, as well as a whole set of notes for a speech she made for UNICEF. It was really a delight to be able to see all of these things.

I don’t have a license for this!

For those visitors who are familiar Audrey’s life, however, one will immediately be aware of a glaringly obvious omission from the timeline. There was a gaping hole between the end of her marriage to Mel Ferrer, and her UNICEF years. Unless I missed something, there wasn’t even one mention of her marriage to Andrea Dotti, the birth of her son, Luca Dotti, her life in Rome, her second divorce, or her relationship with Robert Wolders.

I don’t even really know what to say about this, as I don’t know the rational behind it. The exhibit was put on by her first son, Sean, and I would think if he only wanted to include pictures and memories from his own life with Audrey, that could perhaps be a logical theme for a gallery. “My life with Audrey,” or something. But it included everything from her childhood to her death – except basically the entire 1970s. There is no logical explanation offered. One could walk away thinking she had had only one husband in her life, and only one son, so I find it terribly misleading. Three very important people to her went unmentioned and unpictured in this exhibit. It doesn’t sit well with me, nor with several other fans I know who have paid a visit. And of course, me being me… I may be the only one to say something about it publicly. Why do I do this? I don’t know. I’m a very open and honest person. I don’t really like lying by omission, and if I didn’t say something about it, I would not be telling the whole truth about my experience. I just can’t not say something, when it’s the one thing that gnawed at me from the moment I noticed it.

Anything I could say about it would be pure speculation and assumptions, though. I was not disappointed, per se, in the exhibit. I loved to see all of the photos, and her rings, and to watch some brief interviews with her friends such as Doris Brynner and Gregory Peck. I loved it. I always love seeing and learning more about Audrey. But I am disappointed in the decision to omit people who were important to her. It could not have been accidental.

The way certain things were labeled, as “my” wedding dress, “my” such-and-such… to create the feeling that Audrey was sharing her photo albums and treasured items with us, is overshadowed by this censorship. She would never have excluded Andrea, Luca, or Robert, in the memory book of her life. If the idea was to make it seem like Audrey was the guide to this trip down memory lane, any personal rivalries should have been put aside to let Audrey speak. Someone should have asked themselves, “What Would Audrey Do?” (I always wish that question had a better abbreviation than WWAD!)

It was a beautiful exhibit and I enjoyed it… but the way it was deliberately curated to erase people from Audrey’s life without explanation to visitors left me wondering what Audrey would have to say about it all. Because of anybody, her opinion is the one that matters most. I can only imagine her deep sighs.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.
Audrey Hepburn

The Amsterdam exhibit ended at the end of January, and I apologize for not writing about it sooner, but I’ve been busy with a lot of things in my personal life. There is a second reason as well, though.

Because there is a second Intimate Audrey exhibit running at the exact same time, in La Spezia, Italy at the Fondazione Carispezia.

At first, I thought I had read that the exhibit was moving to Italy after Amsterdam. But then I realized this was not the case. And then I got very curious, because I heard that her wedding dress and rings were on display there as well. And of course that couldn’t be possible. One or the other would have to be fakes.

So this past weekend, I made the 4 hour drive to La Spezia with my boyfriend to investigate for you. I know not everybody has the opportunity to do this, and I felt that if I could make it happen, I should. And here is what I found…

The wedding dress and rings on display in Italy were definitely replicas. Nowhere nearby was any evident description clarifying this. A close look at the rings confirms that they are brand new, with no wear, and most likely not even made of gold. At this point I regretted not getting a picture of the rings in Brussels but it was absolutely obvious that these were fakes and had never been worn. If I’m able to update this with comparison photos, I will. I was sent one of the wedding dresses, but I would love to show the rings as well.

The original on the left, the replica on the right.

Neither of the Vespas on display in either location are the original Vespa used in the movie Roman Holiday, if you’re wondering. The original was auctioned off in 2017 for $200,000.

There were definitely some authentic items there, such as two pairs of worn ballet flats, and a pair of tennis shoes she wore for her UNICEF work. There were notes she made in Italian for a UNICEF speech, and a few more of her drawings (although I didn’t pay close enough attention to be able to tell if they were different from the ones in Holland – originals or copies).

The Italian exhibit was maybe half the size of the Amsterdam exhibit, but once again skipped over the 1970s. I did see one photo with Robert Wolders in it, so I’m assuming that same photo may have been in the Amsterdam exhibit as well, and I missed it. Again though, no mention at all of her second husband or child.

Again, no photos were permitted, and I’ve been told it was to ‘protect the copyrights of the photographers,’ but the more I think on that, the more it doesn’t really make sense to me. I’ve been to other photography exhibits were there were no such restrictions on photographing anything. I’m no lawyer, and I know it’s a complicated subject, but…. In my understanding, even if somebody took a picture of a picture, to be able to use that in a commercial capacity, they would have to reach out to the copyright holder of that photo. I don’t believe, just based on what I know, that sharing a picture of another picture is a copyright infringement if there is no commercial intent. Many of the photos were filmed for the promotional videos of the exhibits, which can be found on YouTube. How that isn’t violating copyright and how a picture or video I may take and share is, is beyond my realm of expertise. I also wonder if all of the photographers or copyright holders of all the photos in the entire exhibit gave their permission for the photos to be used. It would have been an enormously large task to track them all down. But perhaps the rules of exhibiting photography are different. I have been unable to sort out the rules of exhibiting other people’s photography. I would assume they took all the necessary steps. If anybody can enlighten me on how displaying other people’s photographs works, I’d love to know, because it’s really not clear to me.

To wrap it all up, I’ll leave you with this. If the original exhibit with her authentic wedding dress and rings is on display again somewhere, I do think it’s worth a visit. There are many many ‘new’ photographs to enjoy. Like I said, we spent a whole two hours in there! The exhibit in La Spezia is worth checking out if you’re in the area, as it is free entrance, but it’s much smaller than the other exhibit, we were in and out in about a half an hour.

For each of them, however, I personally felt extremely awkward walking through and realizing that the curator seemed to be making an effort to erase Audrey’s second husband and son from her life, as if I’d walked into a room and into the middle of a family feud. I had this uneasy feeling that I was supporting something she would not have approved of.

I hate that all recent Audrey events – the Christie’s auction, this exhibit – leave me with mixed emotions. Excitement and curiosity, but also the feeling that it’s not what Audrey would have wanted. I can only hope that things will get better.

So that’s my mixed review of the Intimate Audrey exhibit(s). Did you go? What did you think?

Audrey in Training

So I’ve decided there are at least two tasks I need to focus on when it comes to getting this role, and I’ve broken it down from there.

There is the business side to it all, and the creative side.

When it comes to the business side, I must be sure to be in contact with those in production on this series. I must somehow show them that I am a worthy candidate, and be able to secure a meeting or an audition.

On the creative side (the fun side!), I must “become” Audrey.

I’ve been making notes on what steps I can take to understand and emulate Audrey to the best of my ability, and these steps will become my roadmap. I’m going to share with you some of what I plan to do to “get into character.” Some of these may seem silly, maybe trivial and unnecessary, but as an actress you just don’t know what may end up being a key to an important part of your character (I hate referring to her as this, but it’s a role in a production). Audrey relied on her costumes to help her get into character, for instance.

Physically, although we are very close in measurements, I’m going to put some effort into losing an inch or two from my waist, and losing a bit of my upper arm fat through exercise.

The specifics of that plan are as follows. I will be taking ballet class more regularly, and also adding some yoga to my daily routine. Any additional exercise is of course welcome! I’m going to be sure to drink much more water than I usually do, as this flushes out the system, makes you feel fuller, and can help you lose weight. I have a friend who lost I believe 40 pounds and mostly what he did differently was stay hydrated! I’ve also read that hot water, especially in the morning, is good for all of this as well. Looks like I’ll be drinking a lot of tea! I will also be cutting back on sugar and carbs, and in my free moments, being a weirdo and planking on the floor.

As for my facial features… this one is tough. With make-up and the right lighting, yes, I can resemble her. We somehow have features similar enough to make people comment nearly every time I leave the house that I “remind them of Audrey Hepburn,” and yet when you take our features one by one, they’re all different. I’ve decided to see if I can add some chubbiness to my cheeks (I have such defined cheekbones) by some “facial yoga” exercises. Mostly a lot of smiling sort of things. My face already feels sore. Hydration should also help out with this a little bit, plus aloe massages and whatever else I come across. I’m wondering if “flexing” my nose will widen it? As for my little lips… praying the hydration reaches them as well.

One thing an actress playing Audrey must master is her accent. I didn’t trust myself to do my best on my own, so I called upon my dialect coach (confession: haven’t used him in 2 years) and fortunately he had some time to help me out. Starting in January, after he does his research, he will teach me her accent. He is so thorough, too. I have a 300 page pdf with as many audio files just for Received Pronunciation. I’m so lucky to have found him and have the money on hand to pay him for his help!

After learning her accent, I plan to speak like her in as many situations as I can, until it becomes second nature.

I’m also toying with the idea of spending a few months in London this year, in part to be around non-American-English accents, and in part to get to know what it might have been like for her to live there.

If I can manage it, I’m also considering spending several weeks in Holland and Rome, after London. I’ve made quick trips before, but I want to know a little more about these places she spent so much time in. I want to have some of the same (or rather, similar) images in my mind, the experiences of walking those streets and hearing those languages. And of course, I’ll do my best to learn a bit of the languages as well. I’m still working on French but surely I can handle a little bit of Italian and Dutch, too! I’ve already got my little language books (I’ve had them for years, but decided to do my best with one language at a time).

I was reminded yesterday of how much she smoked… and I don’t smoke at all (Nail biting was my preferred bad habit. Now I carry a nail file with me everywhere). So I looked up the kind of herbal cigarettes used in film, and ordered 10 cartons of a lightly flavoured cigarette. Then I started getting into it and bought a cigarette case on Amazon, and, to be a little modern, a cool electric lighter. I figure it’s small enough to put into the case with some ciggies. I hope. Oh, and I found a sweet little pocket ashtray on etsy that I couldn’t resist. Why on earth did people stop using these?! We need to bring these back, and quit tossing cigarettes into the streets.

If you followed my other blog at all, you might remember the short little series I did about Audrey last year. Well, I’m so glad I did that, because it’s now an easy reference guide for myself. I’m going to follow her diet which I went over HERE , and her exercise habits HERE . I went over her fashion choices HERE , which I think I already implement pretty well. Not to say that I try to dress like Audrey every day. Her advice was to not try to dress like someone else, but to find what works for you and be yourself. It so happens our fashion sensibilities do overlap somewhat, but I’ve also found that I adore more 1940’s silhouettes as well. I’m very happy with my style right now, and I feel my vintage wardrobe – even if it’s not identical to Audrey’s – gets me in the right mindset. This post HERE gets more to the core of Audrey, past all of those physical considerations. Her kind of inner beauty is something I continuously strive to cultivate in myself. And while playing Audrey, it must shine through. I know (because I’ve been told more than once!) that I can come off as withdrawn or aloof, and I think I need to work on that. I’ve never met Audrey, of course, but I can’t imagine people would think that upon first meeting her. For myself, it’s more of an anxiety or shyness, sort of a protective shell, I suppose, that I’m not even always aware of. But I’ll work on it! For you, Audrey!

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions (especially on the business side of things, because I have an uphill battle with that, I’m sure!). And don’t forget, you can find me on Instagram!

About This Blog

Over the past few years, I’ve kept a blog over at www.dreameroftheday.com, although as you can see, I haven’t written anything there in the past year (I’m not much of a blogger!). But because this is a specific project I want to document, I decided to set it apart and give it it’s own space on the internet. So here we are!

And what is this project, you may ask?

While awake at 3AM, in London, a few weeks ago, I was browsing Facebook and came across this article:

Nearly fell out of bed.

Let me back the truck up a little.

I became an Audrey fan as a teenager, after renting Breakfast at Tiffany’s for my grandmother and I to watch. She had told me it was her favourite film. I knew nothing about Tiffany’s except that they made pens (she had a silver pen marked “Tiffany’s”), but I assumed it was some kind of café somewhere… I mean where else would you get breakfast? I was so fascinated with Audrey, because she was so different to all the actresses I was aware of at that time. Olivia Hussey was the actress who really inspired me to act, and I wanted to look just like her. My hair was already to my waist, but that bust… no lotions or bras could get me to look like that. And I tried. By the time I was out of high school, I was nearly 5’7″, 105 pounds, 32A and size 8.5 shoe. Nothing seemed to fit me, my teeth were a mess, I didn’t know how to apply make-up or do anything with my hair… and so of course I left for Los Angeles.

That same year, Jennifer Love Hewitt portrayed Audrey Hepburn in a television movie. At first, I admit, I kind of liked it. It was probably the first “documentary” I’d seen on Audrey. But I soon learned how wrong it all was. So I started doing my own research. Between work as a background actor, I’d spend days at the Academy Library, going through microfiche and files of letters and papers (which I did again this past year). And on set when I wasn’t working, I was writing. I had stacks of index cards with every fact about Audrey I could find, notebooks full. And I wrote. This was my mission.

But life got in the way, and I had no idea how to ever make it become reality, so it sits in volumes on my bookshelf. The dreams of 20-year-old me.

So now, in 2018, to see that there is a production that is actually going to get made, and will most likely be accurate and well-written, all I could think was “maybe this is my chance.” And maybe my only chance.

Of course the voices in my mind tell me, “oh, no, they’ll probably want someone like Natalie Portman or Lilly Collins, someone bankable, someone known… you’re nobody, what chance do you really have?”

But then there’s the voice of hope, shouting at me, “don’t give up that easily! You have no idea what they want or who they want. You are just as talented as any other actress, and you have more passion for this project in your pinky finger than any of those well-known girls. If you don’t even try, then you’ll never know if you could have gotten the role. What do you have to lose?”

So I won’t give in to that other voice. That voice that tells me I’m not good enough, that I shouldn’t even bother, that I’m delusional. I have plenty to offer, and several months from now I’ll have even more to offer.

In this blog, I’m going to document my journey. I have no idea how often I’ll post, or what I will post, really. But this is the journey of an actress with a passion for a role. This is my journey to “becoming” Audrey Hepburn. My goal is to make myself into the best candidate to play her on screen. Audrey has given the world so much (and she wouldn’t even understand how!), and was such a unique human being, that she deserves the best of everything. If a series is going to be made about her, it’s got to do her justice. She’s given me so much, that this would be my way of giving something back to her, if I succeed at my goal and actually get the part.

So, let the journey begin!

via Gfycat

“Won’t you join me?”