An Afternoon with Audrey & Marilyn exhibition at the Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town, London. 2014

An afternoon with Audrey and Marilyn Statement

An afternoon with Audrey and Marilyn Statement

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Born in Ixelles, a district of Brussels to an English father and Dutch mother, Audrey Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands. Her connections with Belgium and the Netherlands are often used to describe her passion for cycling. Some see her as the cycle chic icon. Sources: Wikipedia, audreyhepburn.com & other Audrey dedicated websites

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“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone” Audrey Hepburn

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“I'm an introvert... I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.” Audrey Hepburn

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“Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.” Audrey Hepburn

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Audrey participated in ballet by the age of 5 and by 1944 she had become a proficient ballet dancer. In Arnhem where her mother relocated her in the belief that Netherlands will remain neutral during World War II, Audrey secretly danced for groups of people to collect money for the Dutch resistance, remarking that "the best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performances”.

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After the war ended in 1945, Audrey took ballet lessons for 3 years with Sonia Gaskell who introduced her to Marie Rambert to study at the renowned Ballet Rambert in London. Marie Rambert was the one who influenced Audrey’s decision to pursue acting instead, as she assured her that she could continue to work there and have a great career, however her relatively tall height of 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) coupled with her poor nutrition during the war would keep her from becoming a prima ballerina.

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The first major supporting role that Audrey played in the 1952 British film ‘Secret People’ (prior to her discovery by Hollywood for ‘Roman Holiday’) was the role of a prodigious ballerina and she performed all the dance sequences, making use of her extensive training.

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During her wartime struggles as a child, Audrey suffered from malnutrition, developed acute anaemia, respiratory problems and oedema. Her harsh experiences especially during the Dutch famine that followed in the winter of 1944 sparked her devotion to UNICEF in her later career. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Audrey Hepburn

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“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once.” Audrey Hepburn

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“I never wanted to be Marilyn — it just happened. Marilyn’s like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane.[..] People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.” Marilyn Monroe

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“I’ve given pure sex appeal very little thought. If I had to think about it I’m sure it would frighten me. I want to be an artist, not an erotic freak. I don’t want to be sold to the public as a celluloid aphrodisiac.” Marilyn Monroe

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"Goethe said, ‘Talent is developed in privacy,’ you know? And it’s really true. There is a need for aloneness, which I don’t think most people realize for an actor. It’s almost having certain kinds of secrets for yourself that you’ll let the whole world in on only for a moment, when you’re acting. But everybody is always tugging at you. They’d all like sort of a chunk of you.’ Marilyn Monroe

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“I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful, but because I had never belonged to anything or anyone else.” Marilyn Monroe

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“My work is the only ground I’ve ever had to stand on. I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation — but I’m working on the foundation.” Marilyn Monroe

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“Everyone’s childhood plays itself out. No wonder no one knows the other or can completely understand. By this I don’t know if I’m just giving up with this conclusion or resigning myself — or maybe for the first time connecting with reality. How do we know the pain or another’s earlier years, let alone all that he drags with him since along the way at best a lot of leeway is needed for the other — yet how much is unhealthy for one to bear. I think to love bravely is the best [..] Marilyn Monroe

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“Here is Joyce writing what a woman thinks to herself. Can he, does he really know her innermost thoughts? But after I read the whole book, I could better understand that Joyce is an artist who could penetrate the souls of people, male or female. It really doesn’t matter that Joyce doesn’t have..or never felt a menstrual cramp.Leopold Bloom is a central character. He is the despised Irish Jew, married to an Irish Catholic woman. It is through them Joyce develops much of what he wants to say" M.M

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“An actor is not a machine, no matter how much they want to say you are. Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer.” Marilyn Monroe