Monday, 2 January 2012

LIFE OVERSEAS : How I Got To Know Audrey Hepburn


I WOKE up in the car to the sound of Mum saying “Okay, we‘re here!“
Totally oblivious to my surroundings, I had a huge question mark floating above my head.
“Where am I?“
A giant sign displayed in big bold letters, “Newbridge Silverware“.
I wondered why we drove more than 100km to see... silverware.
Then, the automatic glass doors parted and my eyes were drawn to a long, black marble staircase. It was eye-catching with glowing purple neon tubes at each step.
I climbed the brightly lit steps and entered a museum.
Not your typical museum with historical artefacts, but one filled with style icons and names that have graced the big screen such as Michael Jackson; Diana, the late Princess of Wales; and Marilyn Monroe. Their clothes, handwritten letters, newspaper articles, black and white photographs and props from movie sets were on display.
Then, there she was, displayed in all her glory, my namesake, Audrey Hepburn.
Many of her movie posters were framed on the wall. There were magazines with her face immortalised on their covers and even the Vespa she rode in her famous movie, Roman Holiday.
And then suddenly, a voice echoed through the hall.
A feeling of uneasiness came over me as there was no one else around. Then I discovered that the voice was coming from a little black speaker on the wall. It related the biography of Hepburn.
All I knew of Hepburn was that she was an incredibly attractive woman who became a famous star in her time.
My perception of her took a 180 degree turn when I learnt of the hardships that she had to endure.
She came from a broken family which left her traumatised as a child.
Food was scarce during World War 2 and she suffered malnutrition which resulted in anaemia, oedema and respiratory problems. However, she blossomed into a successful ballerina, a renowned actress as well as a humanitarian.
She famously said: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I‘m possible!“
As I stood there, taking in all her accomplishments and experiences while listening to her memoir, I realised that Hepburn is still highly respected for her unique personality and achievements.
Her presence had added so much flavour to the film industry and she would forever remain in the hearts of many.
Then I wondered: “What kind of legacy will I leave behind? Would I even be remembered?“
And most importantly, what would I want my life to speak of?
As a teenager, I do not dwell on these questions too much.
Someone once said: “When you pass away, your gravestone can only say so much. Your name, an epitaph and then the period of time that you walked on Earth. But the most important thing on that tombstone is that little dash between those years.“
Life is not based on how you begin or finish, but how you run the race.
I want to leave behind an inspiring and mind-blowing tale that even my great-grandchildren will talk about.
A legendary story that would leave them in awe, and hopefully, I would be a role model.
I do not want people to say: “I wish I had your life“. I want them to say: “I want to live life like she did“.

The writer is studying at a high school in Ireland. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart.

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