“Intimate Audrey” Gives Fans A Chance To Walk Through The Icon’s Life

“Intimate Audrey” Gives Fans A Chance To Walk Through The Icon’s Life

The bespoke exhibit makes its first Asia stop in the Philippines



As someone who’s always curious about life but oftentimes too pressed for time (or admittedly, just lazy) to crack open a book to learn something new, I find that museums are a great way for immersive learning. Because education is mostly found in the confines of a school system, there’s just something so romantic about escaping from your duties and enriching yourself on the topics of life and culture just for the sake of it. Here’s to being endlessly fascinated by the life we live and the world we live in.


Plus, it’s a charming date idea. It’s an activity you could enjoy alone at your own pace or a shared experience with a friend or a partner. For those who find larger-scale museums intimidating, an exhibit is a great start. It’s shorter than going through an entire museum (friendlier for those with short attention spans!) and focuses on a narrower topic than what a whole museum might contain. Unlike curriculums where you’re obliged to learn every single topic, you can choose to attend an exhibit you actually like—it’s edutainment, basically.


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Intimate Audrey is a bespoke exhibition on the life of Audrey Hepburn created by her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, to celebrate her 90th birthday anniversary. The exhibition was launched in the actress’ birth town of Brussels, Belgium and made a stop in Amsterdam, Netherland, where the icon had spent her days during World War II. The exhibit has now landed in Metro Manila, marking its first-ever stop in Asia.


I wasn’t a fan of Audrey Hepburn, as I didn’t know much about the icon before the exhibit. (In my defense, I have watched Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, so I wasn’t absolutely clueless.) Rather than restricting myself access because “I didn’t know enough,” it gave me a blank canvas to learn more about the icon on a more personal level. If anything, it was a great opportunity to learn more about Audrey Hepburn for the first time.


The exhibit had hundreds of photos spanning her entire life, some original and some re-printed. While words were quite scarce, the sheer amount of photographs was impressive. Not only did she have a well-documented life, but the images of her were full of life and emotion. As a photographer myself, I felt motivated to pick up my camera again. Not to take photos to post, but to take photos to remember. To quite literally capture life and its joys, and have a lifetime collection to look back upon.


Some of my favorites


I was born in the year 2000, a few years after Audrey Hepburn passed away. It’s hard for me to imagine that an icon like her actually existed. I can imagine that this would be like talking about how I lived the same lifetime as Kobe Bryant to my future children. It’s as crazy as thinking how my grandparents lived in a time when Marilyn Monroe was still alive.


It’s witnessing memorabilia that has existed long before you did that makes you realize that there was a reality even before you were born. Did I get chills when I saw Hepburn’s passports? Yes. I learned how to appreciate the power of Hepburn’s elegance when I saw her wedding gown from her wedding with American actor Mel Ferrer. While the garment (made by Pierre Balmain, no less) on its own was quite simple, it was absolutely transformed when it was worn by the doe-eyed bride.




The exhibit documents Hepburn’s journey from an aspiring prima ballerina based in Amsterdam and London to a sensation with her breakthrough role in the Broadway act Gigi. It became clear to me why she rose to fame at her level—she was simply captivating. Her beauty and talent came once in a lifetime. It was easy to see why everyone was enamored with her. She’s also one out of less than 20 people to have earned the EGOT, which means she won four major American entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.



Memorabilia from her glory days


The exhibit tackles Hepburn’s many roles—a daughter, a ballerina, an actress, a mother and a humanitarian. The show did miss out on some parts of her life, such as her relationships after her first marriage. She had a second child with her second husband, Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti, and spent her last years in a relationship with Dutch actor Robert Wolders. However, I am willing to overlook it. Her life and her achievements as a cultural icon speak more about herself than her marriages, anyway.


The exhibit ends with a poster of Roman Holiday and the famed Vespa (probably not the original, since reports say that it was sold in an auction) that rose to popularity together with Hepburn’s stardom. The last portion, exclusive to the Philippines, is an exclusive tribute called AUDREY: An Homage from Filipino Fashion. This section highlights the works of some of the Philippines’ most celebrated designers and how each took inspiration from Audrey Hepburn’s films to the documentation of her personal life. It features pieces from iconic Filipino designers such as National Artists Salvacion Lim-Higgins and Ramon Valera who have patterned their works and pieces after the classic muse.



Sneak peek of AUDREY: An Homage from Filipino Fashion



Visiting Intimate Audrey was a refreshing solo date that felt like walking through a scrapbook documenting Hollywood’s dearest darling. My next agenda? Having a movie marathon to watch her whole filmography.


“Intimate Audrey” Gives Fans A Chance To Walk Through The Icon’s Life



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Catch Intimate Audrey for a limited time only at The Museum at S Maison, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay from August 1 to October 29, 2023.


Tickets are available online via SM Tickets and at all SM Ticket offline locations such as SM Department Stores and SM Cinemas.


Exhibition access is priced at P850 with a special rate of P450 for students, senior citizens, PWDs, national athletes and medal of valor awardees, and allows access to the space for one hour and a half per visit.




Photos Gwyneth King and Intimate Audrey

Words Gwyneth King

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver


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