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  • Writer's pictureVingt Sept

An Intimate Look At Audrey Hepburn With Granddaughter Emma Ferrer


2023 was Emma Ferrer’s first time in Southeast Asia and became an exciting time well-spent. The artist/activist made her way to the capital city of Metro Manila, Philippines, alongside her father, Sean Hepburn Ferrer, to launch the fourth iteration of Intimate Audrey, a bespoke exhibition about the legacy and life of Ferrer’s grandmother, the forever iconic Hollywood actress and philanthropist, Audrey Hepburn.

Speaking about her first time in the Philippines, ‘I like it. I have never been to Southeast Asia before. So it’s a completely new cultural experience for me, and there are many layers of history here that I never knew about, and the cherry on top is, the people are just wonderful.’

Coming from a creative family of film producers and actors, Emma’s natural creativity blossomed even further in the fine arts upon her exposure to Medieval and Renaissance iconography, resulting in her pursuit to transition her passion into a lifetime career. Aside from that, she worked as a curator for several galleries in New York while combining it with her role as an ambassador for UNICEF, an organisation that her grandmother was involved in during the last years of her life.

Hepburn’s larger-than-life legacy looms large for a worldwide audience that has seen the late actress on screen in films such as Love In The Afternoon, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Sabrina, and more. But for Emma, there were plenty of aspects of her grandmother’s life that not many people knew about, and if she were given the opportunity to have her around, she would ask about what she went through during the war. ‘Our generation is detached from that, although it still hasn’t even reached 100 years since the war, and I would love to ask her through a series of conversations about how to direct yourself in life and any sort of advice, truly it would be wonderful to have that.’

Audrey Hepburn's Pierre Balmain Wedding Dress

The exhibition includes over 800 photographs, memorabilia, an exclusive homage of craftsmanship with Filipino designers who took inspiration from Hepburn’s films to create outstanding couture dresses and accessories and her collection of never before seen fashion drawings and humanitarian writings. A wave of nostalgia emits throughout the whole premises, resulting in a haunting and more intimate look that none of us except her family and loved ones know about. ‘One of the things that I loved seeing so much in the exhibit are her drawings from when she was a child.’

It’s a personal look at Hepburn’s life that brings her to life in some way by giving fans a two-dimensional image of her character through photographs, her voice and films. Ferrer said, ‘It’s about getting to know her personally, more than just the clothes you’d see at Christie’s because you would need money to access that. But this is simply an amazing curation of everything she was and is to everyone.’

When it comes to continuing in the footsteps of her grandmother’s legacy of philanthropy, Emma points out that working for the better conditions of children was the most important to her. ‘She dedicated herself to this during the last chapter of her life. She was a war refugee and cared deeply about other children in similar situations.’

Emma Kathleen Ferrer and Sean Hepburn Ferrer

During the famine in WWII, Hepburn and numerous children were placed in a program that later became the predecessor of UNICEF. This organisation came together due to the creation of the United Nations. ‘My grandmother dedicated her entire life to that, and it’s a meaningful story to pass on through generations.’

Pursuing a life in the arts is no easy feat, and with the SAG-AFTRA/WGA strike ongoing, it calls attention to the rapidly changing undercurrent that finds creatives fighting for more humane conditions. ‘Hollywood has changed’; it is not the same environment as when my grandmother was alive’, according to Ferrer. ‘I think people fighting for their rights and what’s owed to them is amazing. While important films came out recently, most of it is done in front of a green screen, and actors aren’t free to act as they used to before.’

With painting as her true calling, you will find Emma living in the mountainous region of Italy, where her work is inspired by her region’s solitude, customs, and rituals. She is also studying to receive her Masters in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins.

Regarding her journey to self-discovery, Ferrer’s journey is the same as everyone else’s, and she has no trepidations about that. ‘You are your own person with unique desires, preferences, likes, and whatnot. Whatever happens, it occurs naturally.’

For more on Emma visit HERE

Instagram ekhferrer

Words by Cyan Leigh Dacasin

Photography by Carissa Mia Cruz


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