Category: Uncategorized

A Very Audrey Fundraiser

Hello out there!

Not a lot to report on these days, but several lovely ladies I’ve met through Instagram joined with me to make a fun little video in honour of Audrey Hepburn’s 91st birthday. We dedicated it to a fundraising effort for Doctors Without Borders. If you have a couple dollars to spare (and I know things are tight for most of us right now, so if you don’t it’s OK! Maybe just pass along the video!) you can donate here.

I think it’s amazing how many women who aren’t even look-alikes to each other, can transform themselves into Audrey look-alikes. I always find myself able to recognize Audrey in different faces, and it’s honestly a little game I play sometimes… I saw a girl in the streets of Paris once that I thought resembled Audrey. I sometimes wonder what a young Audrey would look like these days – what kind of haircut would she have, what would she be wearing?

Anyway enough of that! I just came here to share the video with you! I hope you enjoy it!

If you would like to find any of us on Instagram, these are our handles!

In order of appearance:

@heloisesalon

@1940sella

@anneliesvanoverbeek

@dresses_and_roses

@charmtighe

@shirinatra

@moonrivervoyager

@kendal_in_wonderland

@darlingindots

@bttywt

@lira__karina

@takotab1

@giacarol

Music: Gaiety in the Golden Age – Youtube Audio Library.

Going Dutch

I’m a little behind on my posting here, but you have not been forgotten! Have I been forgotten? Give me a comment to let me know you’re still out there! πŸ™‚

It’s been a busy time. After Switzerland I went to Holland, where I stayed for about 9 days. From there I went to visit friends in Fontainebleau, before arriving in the south of France. I spent weeks looking for an apartment (don’t even get me started on the French “CDI”) and finally moved in and have been dealing with boxes, and finding furniture and all sorts of things like that. But let’s go back to Holland!

Audrey spent her childhood in Arnhem and Velp, during World War 2. I can imagine it looked quite different back then…. The house she and her mother and relatives lived in during the war is no longer there, replaced by a block of apartments. This is where the Dutch launch of Robert Matzen‘s book was held, back in September while I was visiting. When Robert told me the date of the book launch, I decided it would be a good time to visit, and it was! I met Robert in person, I saw Luca again briefly, and I made a couple of new friends as well. I have to admit, that even though I was trying to learn some Dutch, I failed in my mission to learn enough by September to be able to converse with anybody. Dutch words are not sticking in my brain! I’m not giving up yet though, of course. I really didn’t study regularly, and that would make a difference.

Anyway, I once again created a little video tour of as many places as I could manage, which you can view here on YouTube:

Soon after arriving in Arnhem, I decided I needed a little change, and sought out a hair salon nearby. It turns out that I was very close to one apartment building that Audrey lived in briefly before the war, on Jansbinnensingel, and on that street there were several salons. And as luck would have it – there was one right in her building! So of course I went to that one.

The next day, I attended the book launch of Dutch Girl, along with perhaps 200 other attendees at Rozendaalselaan 32, where Audrey spent her war years. It was a great turnout. Several people gave speeches, in Dutch and in English. A ballerina performed a short piece to the music Audrey danced to in Secret People, Waltz No. 2 by Chopin. A statue by Yvon van Wordragen was unveiled outside in the front garden by Luca. After this celebration, we all moved to a nearby church (and I got to ride in an old fire truck!) where Luca and Robert were interviewed and a reception was held. Of course I got my (English) book signed.

The rest of my stay was spent exploring Arnhem and spending some time with my new friends. I really look forward to my next trip… which actually will be quite soon… πŸ˜‰ I’m planning on having a very merry Dutch Christmas!

There’s No Place Like Rome

I haven’t been able to write timely blog posts here while traveling, but I’m catching up! My month in Rome ended earlier in September, and the last few days were a flurry of trying to get my important Roman Holiday photoshoots done! I had arranged before my trip to do a photoshoot with a photographer who, like everybody else, was on vacation for most of the month, making him promise that we would work together after he returned on the 28th (because I was leaving on September 2!). A week before he was due to return, I started asking about scheduling, only to find out he hadn’t even booked his return ticket! After days of no replies, I finally rushed to find somebody to help me. I ended up working with three different photographers (and a helpful friend for one last trip to Galleria Colonna) over the last few days of my stay. It was exhausting but totally fulfilling – especially the fact that I managed to do it all without wrinkling my dress! That’s an accomplishment.

Watch out, he bites!

I’m very happy with my photos and now working on getting them edited and organized to start posting on Instagram. I finally finished my video for the month as well! I hope all of this dedication and work is impressive to somebody in the producers office of the Audrey series!!

I hope to visit Rome again sometime soon, perhaps during a month where not everybody is on vacation. There were several people I wanted to see and places I wanted to go, but so many people were out of town and so many businesses closed down that I was left a little disappointed. It was also extremely hot and humid – I’ve never taken so many showers in my life! There was more than one day when I would do too much walking and get completely dehydrated, having to stay in the next day. The routine began to be something like ‘one day out, one day in’! But it was a lovely month getting to know the city a bit better, and I look forward to coming back again.

While I’m writing, I want to mention a NEW Audrey book about to be released. This one is extra special because… I’m in it! I can’t believe I’m going to forever be on the bookshelves of bookshops around the world, tucked inside a book about Audrey Hepburn. Is this my 15 minutes of fame? It’s called Always Audrey, and it was put together by my friend Terence Pepper, in London. It will be available October 1 in the UK, and October 23 in the US. It’s much more expensive in the US, so if you are able to order in Europe, do so!

To order in the UK, click here.

To order in the US, click here.

Now please sit back and enjoy a half an hour in the city of Rome, following in Audrey’s footsteps!

A Roman Holiday

So I’m nearly halfway through my Roman holiday and still so much to do! I now understand why the Romans leave the city in August. The heat is almost unbearable. As soon as I step outside, I’m covered in sweat. It’s like walking around in a sauna. I’ve been limiting my time in the sun and trying to do what I can after dark, but of course some things must be seen during the day!

One thing that can onlyΒ be seen on Saturday mornings is the Palazzo Colonna. And you really should see it. It’s magnificent, and filled with artwork dating back hundreds of years.

I spent my last Saturday morning there, and spent much of my time just chatting with the security guards and tour guides. They all of course were familiar with Roman Holiday, it being one of only two films ever shot there. One of them was kind enough to take several photos of me so I could share them with you.

Palazzo Colonna is the gorgeous gallery you’ll see in the very last scene in the film. Seeing it in colour was amazing. I may even go back again before I leave Rome.

One of the guards wanted to play the Gregory Peck role, so we had a little fun.

I’ve been taking video whenever I go out, to put together at the end of the month into another video for you. I’m also planning on at least one photoshoot, of course! I’m glad I have a month here, because there’s a lot to explore (and I spend every other day in front of the fan at home!!).

I’m packing up now for a quick trip up to Siena to meet a friend and experience the excitement of the Palio race, but I will continue on with my Roman holiday on Saturday…!

Audrey’s London

So if you read my previous post, you know that I’m traveling around Europe this summer and spending time in the cities where Audrey lived and worked and spent long periods of time. I just spent one month in London, where I took some ballet classes (at Pineapple Dance Studios, and I highly recommend it!) and wandered around getting to know the city a bit better. I took the routes I figured Audrey would have taken between her home(s) and the theatres she worked at while living there. And of course… I made a video. πŸ™‚

I apologize for some of the bad audio, I didn’t realize it wasn’t picking up my voice, and I will do better on my future tour videos! I hope you enjoy it anyway, and if you have any other locations in those remaining 3 cities that you think I should cover, please let me know! I am currently in Rome. πŸ™‚

On Audrey’s Trail

After moving back to France from Los Angeles, I decided I would take the summer to follow in Audrey’s footsteps, before signing a lease somewhere. I’ve been to many of these places before, but never for more than a couple of days. I’d also always wanted to take some extended stays in certain countries and I thought this might be a good chance to do that! I love to really settle in and get to know a place, make friends, feel at home… when I get citizenship, I want to do something like spend a year in Spain, and a year in Italy, etc….! Oh the things you can do when you are location-independent (and dual-citizen, fingers-crossed)!

It’s been a bit of a challenge pulling it all together over the past few months, and I’m praying things go a little more smoothly for the rest of the summer, but so far I’ve made it to London, where I will be spending the rest of July. I have a new (to me) car which I drove from France to England a couple of days ago and will pack up and continue on with from here at the end of the month. After London, I will make my way down to Rome (I have to decide on where to stop for a rest, because the drive is very long!). After a month in Rome, I will head north again and stay in Tolochenaz for about a week (with a quick day trip up to Oberhausen, Switzerland, where my ancestors were from), before going up to Arnhem for about 10 days. I would have gone simply from North to South, but the Dutch Girl book release is in September along with an unveiling of a new statue, so I thought I would definitely meet some Audrey fans there! I wish I could stay longer in all of these places, really, but I must get back to France in order to deal with some other things, and I’m also finding the traveling to be more expensive than I had anticipated! At least I will get to know her homes a little bit better, and see if I would like to spend more time in any of those places in the future.

Our most adorable Audrey with her beau, Marcel Le Bon
(from @rareaudreyhepburn).

So there’s the rough plan! Lots of driving, and lots of exploring. I’ve been in London for a few days, and have mostly been dealing with some issues surrounding parking, the flat, some things I had shipped to myself here, and just setting myself up a bit. But today I wrote down the ballet classes I want to attend while I’m here, at two different studios, and will make sure to go take some classes. I’m mapping out the routes Audrey might have walked between her home, dance school, and the theatres she worked at. I’ll be strolling Hyde park as she did (on Sundays, according to one brief blurb I read). I wish I was able to stay for a whole year and maybe join a theatre production (can I? I don’t even know if I can), or go to drama school… perhaps next year. If I can get a flat for half of what I’m paying this time! ha! But for now, I’ll get to know her city, her neighbourhoods… hopefully I’ll make some friends and have a wonderful experience, and who knows, maybe I’ll leave here with a bit of an English accent if I’m lucky! πŸ˜€

My first Pimm’s.

Truly Grateful and Terribly Happy

So before I packed up everything – including Oscar! – to be shipped to France, I made absolutely sure to make a little video for you. I’m a bit of a perfectionist (“A BIT?!” I can hear my parents saying) but I know this is a process, and I want to share it with you. This won’t be the last time I record this speech, because I want to work on everything until I’m completely satisfied. I have a handful of interviews and film scenes I’m working on, in English, French, and Dutch, and I will be posting videos as soon as I’m confident enough to share my progress with them. I will most likely do each of them two or three times, asking for feedback and suggestions along the way. I’m not working with any wonderfully talented directors or Audrey specialists on these things, so I rely on myself and the astute observations of others to refine my impressions.

Anyway, without further ado…

Working Quietly in the Background

Recreating a photo of Audrey Hepburn by Douglas Kirkland
My version of Douglas Kirkland’s portrait.

Hello out there! I know I’ve been a bit quiet since what, February? Well, I’ve been juggling life and putting in time to practice Audrey’s manner of speaking and soon I’ll share the progress with you. I’m a little nervous about posting any attempts before I’m confident with it, but on the other hand, some outsider’s observations could be quite helpful. I’ve also been working on ballet, since it was such a large part of her life. I’m trying to figure out a way to practice at home, because once I return to France and travel around Europe over the summer, it might be difficult to join classes. And I’m working on her Secret People routine as a bit of an Audrey-specific challenge, but I can’t safely work in pointe shoes at home! If anybody knows how to pointe-proof a floor, please let me know! I don’t want to injury myself or damage a floor.

Tomorrow is Audrey’s birthday, by the way! As if you didn’t know. πŸ™‚ I do so wish we were able to send her our birthday love. I’m very grateful we had her for as long as we did. We don’t know how close we were to not ever having known her! I’ve recently read Dutch Girl, by Robert Matzen, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should. I have to say, it’s my new favourite book about Audrey. Every other book covers the years after the war, but this one is unique. You can buy it on Amazon now, at least in the US:

I posted a brief video update on YouTube yesterday. I decided to get tar filters for the herbal cigarettes (which I’m very slow to smoke, mainly because hanging out outside and listening to the freeway isn’t my favourite thing to do, and if I smoke indoors, well…. I don’t know what’s in them, but they stink!).

Hopefully my next update will be fairly soon. I do have a video I want to make before I leave for France, so fingers crossed I get that done for you!

I’d like to say thank you…

The Oscars have come and gone, leaving us all with petticoats on our floors, bobbypins stuck in our hair, and lipstick on our pillows! OK, maybe not all of us. I’m probably one of the few to wear a petticoat these days! Or even to put my hair up. My goodness, how casual the world is getting!

I thought I would check in, since I haven’t written recently. I was really on a roll there for a few weeks! But this project is a pretty drawn-out one. There’s no script and they aren’t casting for a long while, so it’s just me doing my homework for now. Last week I completely lost my voice, so I couldn’t work on accents or French or Dutch or anything! But I’m better now, just in time to attend some Oscar parties…

I decided to wear the dress I based on Audrey’s Oscar dress, under a pretty teal blue bolero. The viewing party I got to attend was held at the old Harry Warner estate in Beverly Hills. I SOOOO wanted to see the front of it, and the inside of it, but we were restricted to the back yard, and had dinner and watched the Oscars in a large tent. The pasta was fabulous… I don’t know what was in that sauce… it was sort of a smoky flavour… I loved it!

I missed probably half of the Oscars because I was in conversation, or the screen was blocked, and we had to leave a bit early for this other Oscars after-party I was committed to, but all in all it was a good evening!

And now I thought I’d make my own little thank you speech here! I’m just so grateful for everyone who has believed in me, who continues to believe in me and offers their support and assistance in reaching my goals, especially this one. The film industry is a tough one to break into, and to be in, and a person can definitely get discouraged when all you hear is no, no, no. The week I learned about this Audrey project, I was taking time for myself to decide if I would make the decision to quit pursuing acting for good. I was really re-evaluating my life and gathering courage to move in another direction. And then one sleepless night in London, around 3AM I believe, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw the Variety article. It was as if the universe were saying ‘no, don’t quit yet. Here is the project you’ve been waiting for, here is the thing that will re-light that fire, that passion for acting that got lost along the way. Give everything you’ve got, one more time, and if it’s not enough, then you are free to stop. And if it is enough, then you’ve finally achieved what you came to L.A. to achieve.’ And it really means a lot to me to have you, my lovely reader, cheering me on. Because I may have dreams and goals but I’m not the most self-confident person. And I can’t do this alone. Every word of encouragement and every kind gesture matters and makes a difference, and if in a year from now I can be thanking you again for getting me into my dream role, you have no idea how happy I will be!

Dutch Girl

There’s one thing I’ve never been much good at, and that’s critiquing artistic works, writing reports on anything, analyzing thing, or in general doing any of those things you’d get graded on in school. Which is probably the main reason I ended up skipping college and heading straight to work in Los Angeles.

However, I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Dutch Girl, a book on Audrey Hepburn’s years in Holland during World War 2 by Robert Matzen (Hi, Robert!!!), and of course I have to say something about it here!

“When the elephants fight, the grass suffers…”

In general, I’m not a fan of books or films about war. However, following one person’s experiences during a time of conflict does capture my attention. I suppose it’s that connection you can more easily make with one human, versus trying to empathize with thousands of general experiences, or be interested in humans killing other humans en mass. The details make it relatable, and you’re rooting for that person to make it through. You’re learning about a real human experience, and not just being bombarded with names and dates and battles and death. I won’t be able to repeat back any names of generals or dates of battles, but I will remember what the people of Velp and Arnhem and so many other cities suffered when I walk their streets later this year… I will appreciate what these people had to go through, as innocent victims of war. We are all very lucky that Audrey made it through.

It was interesting to read in more detail what those years were like for young Audrey. It’s difficult to imagine having to live through these things, having your life disrupted and affected so much. Intellectually, I know that this is still happening to so many around the world. It’s easy to forget, when you’re in the middle of living your own pretty safe and standard life. It was heartbreaking to read about her uncles’ capture and killing. One of them kept a journal during his captivity, parts of which are shared in the book. He and his wife were so brave and strong… I doubt I would have been as courageous under the same circumstances. I would want to be. But I know myself and I would probably be the angry defiant prisoner! Who really knows… I hope never to find out.

This is definitely a book I’m going to be keeping on my shelf. Most other biographies are pretty similar in their content, but this one fills in so many years that are normally just glossed over. Years that made her who she was. I can absolutely recommend reading Dutch Girl. You can preorder it on Amazon and get it in April. You know you want to! πŸ˜‰

Speaking of Dutch, I’ve started taking Dutch lessons from a teacher on iTalki.com, which is also where I found my French teacher. And once I get the hang of Dutch (hahahaha… oh my goodness it’s taken me ages for French, let’s see how this goes), I’m going to add in a little Italian before I reach Italy. I know I’m not going to reach any kind of fluency in the next year, I would be happy getting to A1 level. I’ve always wanted to be multilingual, but haven’t put enough effort into it. Thanks to Audrey though, I’m getting a little push off on the languages and dancing. Fortunately, I do have at least two Dutch friends I can practice a little with before I get to Holland. And three Dutch relatives that I haven’t seen in years but I’m sure they would be happy to hear from me!

I can’t wait to look back on 2019 and see all the new things I’ve learned, all the new people I’ve met, all the new adventures I’ve had….