I've always been a fan of Audrey Hepburn. I love her exotic accent, her petite frame, her dark hair and the elegant way she carried herself. As a young girl in an abusive white trash home, she was as opposite as anything I could imagine. I remember discovering that we were the same height, 5'7", but that she was a scant 110 pounds. My freshman year of high school, I starved myself into 109. I was thrilled. Several years later, I read her biography. She still fascinates me, but still in a very aloof kind of way. She is very far away from who I am today, even if I was still a horribly unhealthy weight.
Marilyn Monroe was the complete opposite of Audrey. She was blonde, where Audrey had raven hair. She was voluptuous where Audrey was rail thin. She had a breathy, sexy voice where Audrey was refined. She took roles that didn't seem to require much talent, all boobs and big blue eyes. Audrey was a serious actress.
Although Marilyn's story is well known, I've never paid any attention to it. Over the weekend, I watched "The Kennedy's", and 8-part mini-series surrounding JFK's election through Bobby Kennedy's assassination. In one scene, Bobby is sent to tell Marilyn that she has to leave JFK alone, that they have no future together. Her reaction was so sad, so fragile. She seemed innocent and desperate for love. The scene may have been fabricated, but it got me curious about the blonde bombshell.
Today, I watched a documentary detailing Marilyn's life. It begins using Marilyn's own words, talking about how she was a mistake, born to a divorcee. I was hooked. She had a difficult childhood from there on out, growing up in various foster homes while her mother lived in a mental asylum. Eventually, she was "discovered" and the evolution of Norma Jean into Marilyn began. She was married three times and divorced just as many. From Marilyn's point of view, no man seemed able to share her with the world, and that was exactly what she wanted.
This film painted Marilyn as a love-starved child, hungry for fame and attention. She said that she didn't care about the money that came with her fame at all. This is in stark contrast to Audrey Hepburn who viewed acting as a job and nothing more. Marilyn was not completely emotionally stable, and ended up in a mental asylum for a short time herself. This was partly due to the fact that she was taking drugs but also, I believe, because she just couldn't feel the love she so longed for.
I've also been reading a book called "Untold Story", a fictional piece about Princess Diana, in which she didn't die in a car crash, but rather faked her own drowning. In once scene, she sees a piece in a magazine featuring her memorial, where thousands came out to leave flowers and letters and to pay their respects. Diana breaks down sobbing, relieved to see that the people "loved" her. The story suggested that that was all she ever wanted, but got far more than she bargained for in her difficult royal life. Just to be loved and adored.
I can't help but feel a connection to these two women. Audrey Hepburn had no interest in the love of millions. She just wanted a family and was happy to leave the fame and glamour behind her. She will always enchant me because she is everything I am not. However, these two women fascinate me, because I relate. When I was a little girl and even through my teen years, I believed I would be famous. When I was very young, I didn't know what I would be famous for. As I grew older, the dream took the shape of a singing sensation. I would be adored all around the world. The next Faith Hill. That is a dream I've left behind for many reasons, but now, I want to be a famous author. I want to be loved and understood and adored by the world. From growing up bearing the burden of the secret of sexual abuse to publishing a book about it and having it make a best-seller list is an extreme dream. I'd be happy to start small...I could be famous where I live and in my home town. Even if my book is a success, it is unlikely to ever garner that kind of fame and attention. And obviously, one must be careful what they wish for. After all, Audrey Hepburn lived a long life - Diana and Marilyn, well, we know how those stories ended.
"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." -Ben Sweetland
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