The director of a documentary on the life of the icon talks about her troubled and traumatic past

Audrey Hepburn is one of those rare people as famous as she is universally adored. Disliking her is disliking baby animals, free food, or finishing work on a Friday But for all canvas prints in her image on the walls of cafes and in student rooms, very few people know the woman behind the incomparably elegant wardrobe and the famous films

British director Helena Coan and the producers behind the critically acclaimed documentary McQueen sought to dig deeper to find out more about Hepburn, who was marred by tragedy and personal issues throughout her life In Audrey, we meet a complicated, insecure and troubled woman who, ironically for someone so popular, has struggled to find love

“Audrey had depth – she suffered a lot in her life, and she made something beautiful out of it,” Coan says “For me it’s a wonderful and heartwarming story, especially at this time – for show trauma doesn’t define you You can turn it into something powerful and beautiful; Audrey is proof of that To me, she’s a prime example of a woman who has been reduced to a two-dimensional portrait Audrey was smart – she spoke five different languages ​​Everyone knows her face, but no one knows who she is “

Here, director Coan shares the biggest surprises she’s learned about one of the 21st century’s greatest icons:

“Audrey’s parents separated when she was six and her father left the family Her departure had a huge impact on her especially in terms of relationships with men Her two marriages were very difficult Her first husband, Mel Ferrer, was a strong and controlling man who could be quite difficult In some ways he was quite similar to his father in that he was a dominant figure His second marriage to Andrea Dotti was particularly difficult He cheated on multiple occasions – as his granddaughter tells us in this film, he was pictured with hundreds of different women during their marriage Her father’s departure affected her self-esteem tremendously – she said it left her insecure for life

Towards the end of her life she began to accept herself more, especially after having children It was then that she met Robert Wolder, who was loving and loyal to her.They were together for 13 years until ‘upon her death and, although they never married, Audrey definitely considered them husband and wife”

“Audrey spent WWII in the Netherlands under Nazi occupation, where supplies ran out This child malnutrition slowed down her growth and changed her image forever This was ultimately the reason she couldn’t pursue her dream of becoming a prima ballerina which she initially wanted to do She was so malnourished she didn’t have the strength It was important for me to tell the audience that Audrey was so skinny because she was starving If you look at pictures of her before the war she looked totally different Her body is not something you should aspire to; she ended up like this because she did had no choice – following a tragedy As far as I know Audrey had a healthy relationship with food She loved chocolate and spaghetti and later drank a whiskey before bed “

“Audrey says in the movie that she wished she could change everything on her own She wished she was blonde and had a fuller figure She is often considered the most beautiful woman who has ever lived, so she struggled to find self-love was a real surprise to me She was also very unsure of her acting abilities – she didn’t think she was a good actress She would beg for re-hits She was becoming very nervous and smoked a lot On camera she was a perfect figure but behind the scenes there was another story “

“I was surprised to find that Audrey had drawn her own designs; she designed her own clothes, then annotated them and took notes I imagine she would share them with Givenchy She was so active in her wardrobe choices She was not only dressed by Givenchy; she was his collaborator They were two artists working together to create the most pioneering clothes of all time She worked very closely with him on making the little black dress we see in Breakfast At Tiffany’s; she understood how the dress would be seen by the camera, what should be there and what wasn’t There is a misconception that she was just his muse, but she worked with him “

“Audrey was revolutionary in that she was the first major Hollywood star to do charitable work on this scale; many famous women followed in her footsteps who were extremely influenced by her Humanitarian work for UNICEF was very important to Audrey; herself had been saved by UNICEF from starvation after WWII – she really understood what it was like to be a malnourished child She didn’t let any of her trauma destroy her, be it the war, her father leaving her or her deceptive husbands; instead she went on the ground in Somalia and gave it back to people rather than letting it ruin it She ignored her cancer symptoms because she wanted to fight for these children “

“She changed the idea that you had to be blonde and busty to be beautiful; she proved that you can be skinny with dark eyes and still look gorgeous Hollywood still has a long way to go in terms of diversity, but Audrey has taken an important step in helping people understand that women can be different”

“One of my favorite things that she says in the movie is ‘I’m full of rage with ourselves’ She was mad at the state of the world She was mad at the children dying of hungry for no other reason than bad corrupt governments Because she grew up in the war, starved and almost died as a child because of Hitler, dictators and bad leadership, see the same happen again – so that the children would still be hungry – made her furious We show her as sad, vulnerable, regrettable and angry She is not just that perfect beautiful pixie woman, she is complex “

“If she knew that Mexican children were separated from their parents at the American border, she would have been on the front lines, she would have given press conferences and she would have gone to the White House to try to change what was happening. the goal was always children and the education of children; she believed education is key to fundamentally changing things All you have to do is look at Audrey’s picture with Trump in 1992 and she says it all She was so present in my mind throughout the lockdown because that she would have been so devastated by what happened this year and the way it was mismanaged. If she knew that Trump was the president, she would be flabbergasted “

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Audrey Hepburn

World News – AU – From Childhood Famine to Bad Relationships: The Truth About Audrey Hepburn