Young and Beautiful

Baz Luhrmanns ‘The Great Gatsby’ is released  in Ireland today.

However, a lucky few attended the premiere screening in The Savoy last night but their reaction to the film on Twitter was quite a mélange, with the majority to be unfavourable – to say the least.

Whilst I am a huge fan of both Carey Mulligan and Leonardo Di Caprio, it is the screenplay’s much-hyped costumes by Miuccia Prada and diamonds by Tiffany & Co. that really peaks my interest – as facetious as that sounds.

I finish college (for the last time) today and going to see ‘The Great Gatsby’ was just one of the ways I was going to reward my hard work. Now though, I’m not so sure…perhaps I’ll just keep listening to the soundtrack.

The soundtrack was executively produced by Jay-Z  and while I’m not a fan of Beyoncé’s rendition of ‘Back To Black’, Lana Del Rey‘s ‘Young and Beautiful’ is exquisite, even if the lyrics are a tad egotistical with a dash of self-assured-ness.

The American songstress croons ‘Will you still love me, when I’m no longer, young and beautiful?’

Thankfully Del Rey answers her own question with ‘I know you will, I know that you will’ and whilst I love the melody, the lyrics have been thought-provoking about my own definition and the public’s definition of beauty and age.

What is our obsession or need to show our icons only in their youth? Do we not deem them to be beautiful as they age?

Broadcaster Maia Dunphy recently posted a link on Twitter to some photographs I had never seen before and really took me by surprise.

If I mentioned the name ‘Audrey Hepburn’, what image immediately comes to mind?

Is it of Audrey dressed in a Givenchy dress and pearls, or perhaps the actress is still in character as Holly kissing a handsome beau in a trench coat in the middle of a New York rainstorm.

Hepburn passed away twenty years ago and while I was only three at the time, I hold very strong memories of her – but all of those are from her youth.

Audrey starred in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ in her thirties, but what did the actress look like in her forties, fifties, sixties? Why are these images not displayed when we herald her achievements and her career highlights?

Audrey Hepburn

While I agree with Audrey when she says something like “Paris is always a good idea”, her wisdom is never clearer than when quoted saying;

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”

After all, “Make-up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn’t help if your ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the make-up.”

Written by

Sinéad Burke is an academic and a writer with an obsessive interest in fashion, education and 'Extraordinary Women'. She is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Women's Council of Ireland.