10 Classic Beauties Full of Grit, Grace and Inspiration

As a devoted fan of black-and-white cinema and 1950s fashion, I relished the moments I spent watching classic films like Sabrina (check out the swoon-worthy outfits Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn) or North by Northwest with my Gram, who never failed to captivate me with stories about the private lives of all the actors. Theses classic beauties inspired me.

I’d sing my little heart out with Etta James as she dazzled me with “At Last”—a favorite that still causes goosebumps to rise along my arms—or I would study the prized, yellowed newspapers documenting JFK’s assassination my great-grandma had tucked away in the corner of her closet. I’d stare at the picture of Jackie Kennedy, clothed in black and grief, holding her children’s hands while they walked down the steps of the Capitol.

From the Dior silhouettes, the dynamic heroines on the screen, and the overt cultural and societal shifts during the wartime recovery, the late 1940s-1960s was a fascinating era. And just as is true of the present day, the women from the past held their own beliefs of what constituted womanhood, beauty, grace, and strength. If you’re a fan of the same era, check out the tips below from several of the well-known beauties of that time.

Here are 10 classic beauty tips that are still relevant for the modern woman:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” —Audrey Hepburn

An iconic face of Hollywood (some favorite films include Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, and How to Steal a Million), humanitarian, and fashion diva, Audrey inspires today’s woman to radiate from within and to love others.

“Be your own artist and always be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.” —Aretha Franklin

The “Queen of Soul” and civil rights activist, whose voice empowered countless women, passed away recently. Her legacy lives on as she reminds us that beauty and confidence go together.

“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.” —Dorothy Dandridge

The first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award, this actress and singer’s beauty wasn’t just external. Dorothy possessed grit as she persevered through racism, sexism, and social injustices; who better to show us how to rise in the face of adversity?

Here are 10 classic beauty tips that are still relevant for today’s modern strong woman.

“I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others” —Grace Kelly

Actress (Rear Window and To Catch a Thief are must-sees) who later became Princess of Monaco, Grace was the epitome of elegance. Her words cause us to think about how our actions of today will mold the legacies we hope to leave.

“Be yourself. The world worships the original.” —Ingrid Bergman

This Swedish actress who starred in Casablanca and Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious delivers a succinct tip: beauty is found in simply being ourselves.

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” —Lucille Ball

The stunning I Love Lucy redhead is known as one of the top comedic actresses of all times. She inspires us to be lighthearted and let our humor out of its cage. After all, laugh lines are beautiful!

“All girls are beautiful in their own way.” —Marilyn Monroe

The blonde bombshell wasn’t afraid to buck the status quo and societal norms of her day. Let’s channel our inner-Marilyn by embracing our uniqueness and walk confidently in our differences.

“I have always felt that one of the secrets of real beauty is simplicity.” —Rita Hayworth

There’s nothing more to add to the Gilda actress’s definition of beauty: “real beauty is simplicity.”

“You always have to be able to get up, dust yourself off, and move forward.” —Rita Moreno

This West Side Story trailblazer motivates the modern woman to persevere through trials, take the next step, and exemplify grit in all that we do.

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” —Sophia Loren

The Italian actress and singer encourages us that inner—not outer—beauty is what matters.

Let the words of these classic ladies inspire you and remind you that your strength and beauty—grit and grace—are within you!

You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace LifeWhat Makes a Woman Beautiful (Might Surprise You) – 043!

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