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‘I’m not exaggerating’: Audrey Hepburn’s son Sean Ferrer praises the Philippines |

Arts and Culture

‘I’m not exaggerating’: Audrey Hepburn’s son Sean Ferrer praises the Philippines

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
âIâm not exaggeratingâ: Audrey Hepburnâs son Sean Ferrer praises the Philippines
Audrey Hepburn’s son Sean Hepburn Ferrer encouraging First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and guests to enter the exhibition “Intimate Audrey” in S Maison
S Maison at Conrad Manila via Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Sean Hepburn Ferrer, eldest son of Audrey Hepburn, could feel the energy of his fashion and female empowerment icon mom in the Philippines.

In an exclusive interview with at the opening of “Intimate Audrey” in S Maison yesterday, Sean said of his impression of the Philippines on his first visit: “Wonderful!” 

“It’s hard at first and I was limited to a certain area of Manila, which is not the Gucci-Gucci sort of elegant part, going from the hotel and to here and all of that,” the American film producer professed.

“But I think the biggest part is that the Philippines is really a matriarchal society, and I realized that to a certain extent. And it’s extraordinary in the 21st century (whereas) in many (other) countries, it’s not even an after-thought. Forget about the dream. You know, here, you turned it upside-down and women are in-charge, literally. I’m not exaggerating!”

From left: Audrey’s granddaughter Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer, SM Investments Corporation Vice Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, Audrey Hepburn's eldest son Sean Hepburn Ferrer, and entrepreneur Carmina Sanchez Jacob, who invited Sean to open the exhibit in Manila after seeing it in Amsterdam.
S Maison at Conrad Manila via Facebook
SM Investments Corporation Vice Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson (left), Irene Marcos-Araneta (center), Alexandra Rocha Araneta (right)
S Maison at Conrad Manila via Facebook

On display from August 1 until Oct. 29, 2023, “Intimate Audrey” is a 730-square-meter exhibition featuring the Hollywood star’s hundreds of original personal, career and family photos, videos and memorabilia, including her Oscar trophy, Balmain tea-length gown and rings from her wedding with first husband Mel Ferrer, and Vespa from “Roman Holiday,” in time for the latter’s 70th anniversary this year.

Sean cut the ribbon to formally open the exhibition yesterday, together with a slew of empowered women, including his daughter and Audrey’s granddaughter Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer, Philippine First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and SM Investments Corporation Vice Chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson. Among the attendees were droves of high-society empowered women like Presidential sister Irene Marcos-Araneta; hosts and actresses Alexandra Rocha-Araneta and Christine Jacob-Sandejas; Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran-Floirendo; and celebrity beauty doctor Vicki Belo, who came with her daughter Cristalle Belo Henares-Pitt, and husband Dr. Hayden Kho Jr.

“I think for the first time, I’ve seen a society where women really matter. So give yourselves a round of applause!” Sean declared at his speech prior to the ribbon-cutting.

Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran-Floirendo (center), First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (right)
S Maison at Conrad Manila via Facebook
Sean Hepburn Ferrer holding the iconic Vespa his mom Audrey Hepburn rode for her breakout film "Roman Holiday," which marks its 70th anniversary this year.
S Maison at Conrad Manila via Facebook
Celebrity doctors Hayden Kho Jr. and Vicki Belo exploring the exhibit
S Maison at Conrad Manila via Facebook
Actress and TV host Christine Jacob-Sandejas at the exhibit entrance Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo


Born to an aristocratic family due to her Dutch mom Baroness Ella van Heemstra, Audrey Kathleen Ruston (later, Hepburn-Ruston) was born on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. The British actress rose to fame via the 1953 romantic comedy “Roman Holiday,” where she starred alongside Gregory Peck, and for which she was the first actress to win a Golden Globe award, an Oscar, and a BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) for a single performance. 

A film and fashion icon ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend from classical Hollywood cinema and inducted into the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame List, Audrey was also known for her blockbusters “Sabrina” (1954), “Funny Face” (1957), “The Nun's Story” (1959), “Breakfast at Tiffany's” (1961), “Charade” (1963), “My Fair Lady” (1964), “Wait Until Dark” (1967), and “Robin and Marian” (1976). Among her last works were the 1990 TV documentary “Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn,” for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement – Informational Programming.

Hepburn, to date, is one of only 18 people in history to have won all of the world’s major performance awards: the Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony awards.

Apart from acting, Audrey studied ballet at the Arnhem Conservatory and with Sonia Gaskell in Amsterdam, performed as a chorus girl in West End musical theater productions, and later in life, became devoted as a goodwill ambassador for United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF, now called United Nations Children's Fund). She died of Appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.

Part of the 90-day exhibit's proceeds are for the benefit of UNICEF Philippines. Tickets are available via SM Tickets with prices: P850 (regular rate), P450 (students, senior citizens, PWDs, national athletes and medal of valor awardees). The exhibit is open to all from the age of seven, and those seven to 12 are given free entry for as long as accompanied by an adult. Access is allowed for one hour and a half per visit.

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