Rare Audrey Hepburn Interview with Mitchell Kriegman author of Being Audrey Hepburn
Why a book about Audrey Hepburn? Where did the inspiration stem from?
Mitchell Kriegman: I’ve always admired Audrey Hepburn for her acting, sense of style and good deeds but also because of her knack of self-invention and her ability to create her own persona. I think everyone has to do this to some degree in his or her life and people who grow up in adverse circumstances more so. They call it the Pygmalion Effect or the creative transformation of self. No matter how you cut it – to become someone you want to be requires intelligence and a firm notion of who you want to be and a bit of fantasy that you can actually pull it off. People may forget that Audrey Hepburn was a star of a new era, a new kind of icon, a departure from studio-designed movie stars.
Women of every age appreciate these aspects of her style, career and persona. Everyone can recite the long list of young actresses who embody her qualities; Natalie Portman, Carrie Mulligan, Lily Collins and so on. So I thought if I’m going to write about a girl who transforms herself what better model could she have than Audrey Hepburn?
So I researched and developed this story around a girl who essentially believes the entire myth of Audrey and when she has the opportunity tries to live a fantasy life that way hiding her secret identity. Of course she eventually finds that it’s impossible and she fails but along the way she becomes somebody better. I like to say Being Audrey Hepburn is about a girl who pretends to be somebody else in order to become who she really is.
Taken as a whole – the narrative of Audrey Hepburn – her movies, her legend and real life experiences – function as a beacon of self-invention that was so thoroughly effective that no one ever says anything bad about Audrey. Very few public figures have been as successful. It’s part of Audrey’s legend as opposed to say, Marilyn Monroe. Her legend is quite different.
I also don’t think an interest in Audrey Hepburn is just gender based. Although this novel is likely to be read by and large by women, Truthfully, men could learn a lesson from Audrey Hepburn as well.
Being Audrey Hepburn: A Novel by Mitchell Kriegman
Book review by Rare Audrey Hepburn
At one time or another, every Audrey Hepburn fan has fantasized about being Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Strolling down Fifth Avenue at the crack of dawn, coffee in hand, and gazing at the jeweled untouchables in the windows of Tiffany’s. Lisbeth Wachowicz spent her entire existence imagining this seductive scenario and for one blissful evening she was able to live out her dream. Complete with the original black Givenchy gown, an imitation Jackie Kennedy tiara, and a perfected Audrey accent; Lisbeth became her idol.
“For the tiniest second in time, wearing the original Givenchy, it felt as if Audrey and I existed together, in that moment, in that dress, like stars crossing.” - Lisbeth (Being Audrey Hepburn pg.30)
Lisbeth is nineteen and living at home with her family in New Jersey. Her mother is an alcoholic whose main source of oxygen is the smoke from her always-lit cigarettes. Her older sister Courtney is the wild child of the family whose hobbies include binge drinking and wet t-shirt contests. Lisbeth’s younger brother, Ryan, is a “World of Warcrack” junkie with a penchant for getting in trouble with the authorities. However, Lisbeth is the sane one amidst her dysfunctional household. She finds solace shutting herself in her closet and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s on her laptop.
“Tiffany’s was a state of mind, exquisitely removed from fear and panic. That’s what made it medicinal. When Holly Golightly took me on my first Tiffany’s tour, I realized that I’d finally found someone who felt what I felt.” – Lisbeth (Being Audrey Hepburn pg. 12)
Following is a link to an Ebay sale of a previously unrecorded 14” x 22” Broadway Window Card - Poster for Audrey Hepburn’s first Broadway show GIGI at the Fulton Theatre in New York in November 1951. The window card features an early image of Audrey in her first lead role and is effectively the show that launched her career. The window card in previously unrecorded and to add to its rarity it is signed - autographed by Audrey. The signature has been professionally authenticated. The Ebay Item number is 400772306527. Submitted by Scott.
enattendantmapleiade asked: What was Audrey's first language?
According to Luca Dotti Audrey spoke 6 languages:
"Mum was fluent in English, Dutch and French. She expressed herself perfectly in Italian with some funny mistakes and was quite ok in Spanish. I understand she was fluent in German too but rarely used it." - Luca Dotti
gregtoolson asked: About Audrey Hepburn's eye color. I'm quite certain they were not brown. At first glance they do appear brown but look closely at any of her color photos and they are definitely an elusive shade of teal. Some of her early black and white 50s photos have been colored in and she is given brown, but in every proper color photo you can see the blueish greenish grey of her eyes though they may appear brown at first.
This is a much debated topic. I asked Luca Dotti (her son) this same question back in June and this was his response:
"About her eyes we’re all right in a way. Passports would describe them as brown, my mother with a little ‘coquetterie’ would say "don’t they look green today?". In fact they had a hue difficult to describe. Ask me and they were grey." - Luca Dotti
richruby asked: Which pictures do you think are the prettiest of Audrey? Love your blog btw!
Oh gosh, I feel like everyday I fall in love with a new photo of Audrey Hepburn! I’ll try to put together a collection of some of my favorite Audrey pictures. Thank you for the question. :)
mightysushi asked: Do you have any photos of Audrey as a child? If so could you post them? I love your blog by the way. Audrey is my idol and my whole house is covered in Audrey themed items and the walls are adorned with Audrey posters.
You must have a very happy house! I do have some photographs of Audrey as a child: 1920s, 1930s, 1940s. Admittedly, I haven’t posted many childhood photographs of Audrey Hepburn but I will make more of an effort in the future! Xo
merry-crisis asked: Is that Audrey Hepburn in the photo of 2 women dancing on pointe in long sleeve white button up shirts?
No, it is not. Below is the original photo from a Russian stock site. It baffles me how this photograph is one of the most popular photographs of Audrey Hepburn on the web. That girl must feel very flattered. :)
Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer in Rome, May 1955.
BEAUTY BEYOND BEAUTY
Opening November 28th 2014
Seoul, South Korea
Audrey Hepburn photographed by Dennis Stock during the production of Sabrina, New York, 1953.
Photographs of Audrey Hepburn from the new book Hollywood Frame by Frame: The Unseen Silver Screen in Contact Sheets, 1951-1997.
Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, and director Billy Wilder on the set of the film Sabrina, October 5th, 1953.
Audrey Hepburn on the set of the film Sabrina at 30 Broad Street, Manhattan, New York City, October 5th, 1953.
Audrey Hepburn photographed by Milton Greene in New York for her Broadway debut as Gigi, 1951.