Pop Culture

Audrey Hepburn's son says his iconic mother didn't understand her beauty

Updated April 3, 9:45 a.m. ET: You can't swing an oversized purse full of too much makeup without hitting the next pretender hoping to be labeled a Hollywood style and beauty icon. Audrey Hepburn was that icon, but her son tells Vanity Fair that the actress considered her looks a "good mixture of defects."

Vanity Fair / Today

"She thought she had a big nose and big feet, and she was too skinny and not enough breast," Luca Dotti tells the magazine. "She would look in the mirror and say, 'I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful.'"

Hepburn graces the cover of the May issue of Vanity Fair, for a story in which her son promotes his new book, "Audrey in Rome."

VF says that Dotti gathered 2,500 photos of his mother in preparation for his book and was struck by how "she was always herself -- perfect."

Dotti appeared on TODAY on Wednesday and told Savannah Guthrie that his mother was "a professional, so in a way she expected [to be photographed]. The beauty behind and the reason behind the book is precisely that. It's a middle step within the private life and the public life."

Perhaps that's where today's stars are at a disadvantage. Hepburn's style choices came across as effortlessly beautiful during an age when celebrities weren't endlessly captured leaving Starbucks in their sweatpants. By the time a modern A-lister steps on the red carpet today, we've practically dissected 2,500 pictures of her from last week, let alone years in Rome.   

"She didn't care that much about external beauty," Dotti told TODAY. "She cared more about matters of the heart. Of course, she was a woman, so she cared about looking good ..."

Dotti also told VF that his mother "was always a little bit surprised by the efforts women made to look young. She was actually very happy about growing older because it meant more time for herself, more time for her family, and separation from the frenzy of youth and beauty that is Hollywood."

Vanity Fair has previously called Hepburn one of the best-dressed women of all time. She is one of the few people to have won an Academy Award, Emmy, Grammy and Tony.

Hepburn died in 1993 at age 63.

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