SAudrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe were both actresses in the Golden Age of Hollywood that were icons in acting, fashion, and persona. However, Audrey and Marilyn were polar opposites in style regarding all these areas, and there has been a debate in history ove which is the more preferred style.
It is interesting that both these posters have each star in red lipstick so they allow for a side-by-side comparison of each star's persona and style, which is captured perfectly. Audrey is displayed as an innocent and sweetly mischievous gamine and ingénue. Marilyn is displayed as a sexy, vulnerable, yet sweet femme fatale. Both of these actresses have also coined quotes on lipstick, which I will insert here:
“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe the happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.”--Audrey Hepburn
“I said pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”--Marilyn Monroe
Both of these quotes exemplify Audrey's and Marilyn's takes on life and style. Audrey's lipstick quote illustrates that she is innocent, full of life, dreamy, and idealistic. Marilyn's quote captures her confidence, the key to her sexiness. Audrey here represents a classic, conservative approach while Marilyn here represents a bold, liberal approach.
I will now discuss Audrey's and Marilyn's acting styles. Although both are celebrated as stars, Audrey Hepburn is appreciated more for her acting than Marilyn Monroe, who is associated more with glamor. However, that condition lay in how they were cast. Audrey was often cast as the sweet and innocent ingénue while Marilyn was often cast as the dumb blonde and/or sexy seductress. I believe that Marilyn had a lot of potential in acting and could have harnessed it had she been cast in more demanding roles. I have seen eight movies starring Audrey Hepburn--Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Love in the Afternoon, Funny Face, My Fair Lady, A Nun's Story, and The Children's Hour--and so far, one and a half movies starring Marilyn Monroe--Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and half of The Seven Year-Itch. So far I have seen that both actresses appear as glamorous icons in their own way in these movies although Audrey also does a good job as an actor. I see that modern day actresses (such as Meryl Streep) are able to completely disappear into their roles and live and breathe and shed blood as human beings in a way that is lacking in Audrey Hepburn. Although she said herself that she wanted to be an actor and not an icon, in most of her roles, she exudes grace and glamour. She is also the icon of Hollywood as many aspiring actresses keep a poster of Audrey Hepburn in their bedrooms. I did see roles that demanded a change from her usual glamor in The Children's Hour and A Nun's Story. It was there that I could actually see Audrey as a human being, which she does a good job of portraying. However, I saw that she shed the glamor in The Children's Hour as a teacher, which she did not in The Nun's Story as a nun. I have heard that Marilyn also took on a challenging role in Bus Stop where she proved her acting ability. I will now discuss the different roles that I have seen Audrey and Marilyn play. In Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Love in the Afternoon, My Fair Lady, and Funny Face, Audrey has portrayed the sweet, innocent ingénue. In Breakfast at Tiffany's, she enacts the role of a dreamy, eccentric, full-of-life, liberal woman who survives by charming men (aka a prostitute). It is interesting to note that Marilyn Monroe was originally offered the role of Holly Golighty, but her agent advised her against portraying a prostitute for the sake of her image. So you see that although Marilyn is known as a sex symbol, she still kept a sense of pride about her body and image. I do not know why Holly Golighty is known as Audrey's signature role since it does not portray her standard ingénue persona (in both acting and real life) the way that the other movies that I mentioned do. Breakfast at Tiffany's is also not one of my favorite movies, although I love how Audrey Hepburn sings "Moon River" sitting on the window!
I will now discuss Marilyn's roles that I have seen. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn is portrayed as a superficial, dumb blonde. In The Seven Year Itch, she is portrayed as a sexy, naïve fantasy of a married man (aka a sexy seductress). I will watch more of her movies to develop my opinion of her. So far, it appears that Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is her signature role as an actress and person.
I will now write about Audrey's and Marilyn's personalities. Most of what I have already said applies as their roles, that Audrey's real life personality is said to be sweet, innocent, classy, and graceful while Marilyn's real life personality is said to be bold, sexy, glamorous, and seductive. However, I have also heard that in real life, Marilyn was quite intelligent and always carried a book in her purse. Both Audrey and Marilyn have been role models in personality and style as many girls have strived to emulate either woman.
I will now discuss the styles of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, which illustrate their individual personalities. Audrey Hepburn's style is classic, feminine, and graceful, reflective of her sweet and innocent gamine personality, while Marilyn Monroe's style is sexy, bold, and alluring, reflective of her sharp seductress persona. Audrey also worked through what God gave her, staying away from plastic surgery and heels or any other fake displays, while accentuating her strong points. Marilyn, on the other hand, challenged nature and dyed her hair blonde, attained plastic surgery, embraced heels, and wore false eyelashes. When I read WikiHow articles on how to dress like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, most of the tips are diametrically opposed. The article on Audrey Hepburn says that Audrey knew both her strong points and weak points and emphasized her strong points while deemphasizing her weak points. While Audrey wore kitten heels to deemphasize her tall stature, Marilyn coined the quote, "I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot." I have found it very interesting that the two actresses' status as polar opposites is exemplified by how the WikiHow article on Audrey Hepburn mentions that every girl should have an LBD to showcase her as elegant female, referring to Audrey's LBD in Breakfast at Tiffany's as an example, while the WikiHow article on Marilyn Monroe states, "Forget the LBD! It's all about the LWD!" referring to Marilyn's LWD from The Seven Year Itch. The WikiHow article on Audrey advises to stay away from crop tops while the article on Marilyn advises to embrace crop tops, much like Marilyn. The article on Marilyn instructs the woman to wear a bikini while the article on Audrey instructs the woman to wear the less popular one-piece bathing suit. I love how Audrey states that "You can wear a crown even if you are not royalty" and believes that every woman should be treated as a princess. Both articles, however, advise women to wear pearls and red lipstick, which represent both Audrey's and Marilyn's styles. I believe that both styles contain femininity and glamor. I think that Audrey's style could be classified as classic while Marilyn's style could be classified as trendy. After all, the WikiHow articles mention that Audrey did not follow trends, but was rather old-fashioned for her era while Marilyn followed the trends.
I will now discuss the different shapes of Audrey's and Marilyn's figures. Marilyn had a classic female hourglass figure, with voluptuous curves and big breasts (very suitable to her sexy persona), while Audrey had a rail-thin boyish figure with less curves and small breasts. Both of them flaunted what they had. However, as aforementioned, Audrey emphasized her strengths (such as her diminutive waist--by cinching with a belt) and deemphasized her weaknesses (such as her small breasts and tall stature) in her dressing while Marilyn both flaunted her strengths (such as her big breasts and curves through low-cut dresses, crop tops, and bikinis) and challenged nature in her weaknesses (through plastic surgery). Both figures are very appealing in their own ways.
As I had mentioned in a previous blog entry, I am 50% Audrey Hepburn and 50% Marilyn Monroe. I am a sweet and innocent ingénue and gamine like Audrey and love to wear the classic, graceful style. I love dresses, lace, silk, and ruffles. I would also like to dress like a princess, such as with a crown, like Audrey idealized. I also wear Audrey Hepburn bangs, which are always in style. I would also rather try to work with nature rather than against it and avoid dying my hair, plastic surgery, and fake eyelashes. So I love kitten heels and prefer them to heels although a part of me also likes heels. However, I am like Marilyn in my affinity for bikinis and crop tops. People have advised me against posting bikini photos on the Web, but I will continue to do so. I like different aspects of Audrey's and Marilyn's figures. I idealize the feminine, curvy hourglass figure that Marilyn has. I also like that Audrey is tall and slim. At the moment, I am busty and curvy like Marilyn and not very slim (although I was two years ago). I am also tall like Audrey. My goal is to have a very slender, curvy hourglass figure with big busts that is of tall stature (a mix of Audrey and Marilyn).
I will end by stating that I keep many Audrey and Marilyn dolls on my window seat. This represents that I see them as iconic role models to emulate.