How to be Lovely
The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life
A charming guide to finding elegance in every aspect of life, featuring rarely seen photographs and revelations about the actress who perfected gracious living.
A charming guide to finding elegance in every aspect of life, featuring rarely seen photographs and revelations about the actress who perfected gracious living.Introduction
Propelled by popular titles such as Swell: A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life and Three Black Skirts: All You Need to Survive, the decorum category touts plenty of trendy advice. But no one has demonstrated the power of poise as memorably as Audrey Hepburn, whose enchanting essence on and off the screen has easily withstood the test of time.
Inspired by a beloved icon who balanced sensibility and sex appeal, celebrity and humanitarian efforts with evident ease, How to Be Lovely examines the art of being a woman. More philosophy than biography, Hepburn fans will uncover the deeply thinking, deeply feeling woman who found success on the silver screen, in her own home and in the world at large. Through Hepburn’s own words from interviews, what her friends said and behind-the-scenes stories, readers will develop a new outlook on their own careers, love lives, families, wardrobes, finances, health concerns, friendships, and the world at large.
Published to coincide with Audrey Hepburn’s would be 75th birthday, How to Be Lovely features an elegant design worthy of the book’s namesake. For the millions who continue to delight in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, and the woman behind them all, this is the guide to living genuinely with glamour and grace.
When it comes to elegance and style, few women surpass Audrey Hepburn. She has become an adjective-“so Audrey”-describing some ethereal combination of grace, elegance, charm, and wisdom.
While her clothing style remains a grounding influence on fashion, it is her character that is certain to withstand the test of time. Audrey taught us that being a woman is as simple as knowing who you are, and who you are not.
And somehow we suspected that if anyone would have the right answers, it would be her: “Amazing the questions they will ask characters like us . . . the questions-all the way from what do I think of love or how does it feel to be a star, to enormous ones, even political, with as many prongs as a pitchfork. Here I am, an innocent little actress trying to do a job, and it seems that my opinion on policy in the Middle East is worth something. I don’t say I don’t have an opinion, but I doubt it’s worth.”
To the world, she represented all that a woman could be, and we wanted in. We still do. By looking at her words from interviews over the years, we may just find a new revelation or two, and certainly some we knew all along.
May the light she shared with the world shine on in the lives of those of us she continues to inspire.
A happy life has been pursued in every culture, in every country, in every generation. But after all this time, there are still no rules for how to get it. And the more you try to pin it down, the more elusive it seems.
By now, we surely know that money can’t buy it. There are those who have very little and are very happy. And others who seem to have it all, but are not. Still, we all look for the next reason to be happy. What if it is not about what happens to us, what we own or where we live, but how we look at it?
Maybe those rose-colored glasses aren’t such a bad idea after all.
A girl who took ballet and dreamed of becoming the next Anna Pavlova. Who climbed trees with her brothers. Who read books in her room. Who often felt unsure in the world, but learned to get along. A girl who loved to be loved, just like the rest of us.
As she grew, there were the usual hardships we all find somewhere along the way. Disappointment. Frustration. Struggle. A dwindling bank balance. And some most of us can hardly fathom-overnight success, fame, miscarriages, studio execs, while the whole world watched.
Regardless of what life threw her way, Audrey was a person who sparkled. She never failed to remember what we too often forget-that life itself is a glorious opportunity.
“Not to live for the day, that would be materialistic-but to treasure the day. I realize that most of us live on the skin-on the surface-without appreciating just how wonderful it is simply to be alive at all.”
“My own life has been much more than a fairy tale. I’ve had my share of difficult moments, but whatever difficulties I’ve gone through, I’ve always gotten a prize at the end.”
“If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadnesses, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.”
“But what is happiness except the simple harmony between man and the life he lives?”
Just a year later, she married Joseph Hepburn-Ruston. Together, they brought Audrey into the world. But it would be up to her mother to help her navigate through it.
“My mother taught me to stand straight, sit erect, use discipline with wine and sweets and to smoke only six cigarettes a day.”
“I was given an outlook on life by my mother. . . . It was frowned upon not to think of others first. It was frowned upon not to be disciplined.”
“It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so don’t fuss, dear; get on with it.”
“As a child, I was taught that it was bad manners to bring attention to yourself, and to never, ever make a spectacle of yourself. . . .
All of which I’ve earned a living doing.”
Just days after Audrey’s eleventh birthday, the Germans stormed into town. In the years that followed, food and liberty became scarce and treachery lurked everywhere. Audrey would lose friends, uncles, and nearly both brothers.
When liberation did come-on Audrey’s sixteenth birthday-the family had escaped with their lives, but the memories would last a lifetime.
“We lost everything, of course-our houses, our possessions, our money. But we didn’t give a hoot. We got through with our lives, which was all that mattered.”
“At times like this, you learn about death, privation, danger, which makes you appreciate safety and how quickly it can change. You learn to be serious about what counts.”
“Being without food, fearful for one’s life, the bombings-all made me appreciative of safety, of liberty. In that sense, the bad experiences have become a positive in my life.”
“It made me resilient and terribly appreciative for everything good that came afterward. I felt enormous respect for food, freedom, for good health and family- for human life.”
Audrey noticed that during the war people were kind and generous. But once the liberation came, not everyone had learned the lesson. How easily we are able to forget what really matters when it comes down to it.
Audrey always knew just what she wanted in life: safety, food, and family. The rest was just icing on the cake.
Audrey was one of us. She was as real as the girl next door, only smarter.
“People seem to have this fixed image of me. In a way I think it’s very sweet, but it’s also a little sad. After all, I’m a human being. When I get angry, I sometimes swear.”
It was during the filming of Wait Until Dark, for which she would earn her fifth Oscar nomination, that it hit her. The long separation from her son Sean, now seven years old and in school, was just too much. She had to make a change. And change she did. In just under two years, she divorced, remarried, and gave birth to her second son, Luca. She also left Hollywood for home, not to be seen again on the big screen for close to ten years. It was the best decision she ever made.
“You can only hope to get a combination of happy work and a happy life.”
“One thing I would have dreaded would be to look back on my life and only have movies.”
“I never expected to be a star, never counted in it, never even wanted it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it all when it happened. (But) it’s not as if I were a great actress. I’m not Bergman. I don’t regret for a minute making the decision to quit movies for my children.”
“I may not always be offered work, but I’ll always have my family.”
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