WOTM: Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews || The Broken Cliché

Yes, we at Sparks have gone the most cliché way by choosing an iconic lady, who goes against all things cliché, for our ‘Cliché’ issue’s Woman of The Month. Too many clichés? Yeah, we know. But that is what makes it the best cliché of all clichés. For this issue, we will be celebrating and honouring one of the greatest actresses and performers of all time, who of which has been breaking common grounds ever since she started dancing on her supercalifragilisticexpialidocious feet: Julie Andrews.

Julia “Julie” Elizabeth Andrews was born on the 1st of October 1935 in Surrey, England. You might think that with her so very mistaken cliché-ed title at this point of her life, Julia Andrews had a fairytale-like juvenility to begin with. Alas, this was not the case. The Andrews family was very poor and lived in a bad slum area of London. Her parents had gotten a divorce, her family split up and her stepfather was a violent alcoholic. Ok, so maybe now it is starting to sound like a cliché beginning of one of those ‘I-am-my-own-woman-and-I-will-turn-my-life-around’ movies but trust me, her life then was dull with not even the least bit of fabrication to lift her from reality. She recalls this point of her story as a very black period" in her life.

Julie Andrews’ parents discovered her freakish but undeniably lovely four-octave singing voice while she was still very young. They did their best to ensure that she received proper singing lessons and not long after, her legendary music career was established. Throughout her childhood and teen years, Andrews performed in music halls and at the age of 20, she launched her stage career in a London Palladium production of Cinderella.

I suppose this is the part of the story where things start to fall into place. However, in Andrews’ case it did not. Trying to make her mark in the industry was a tough and long process. She had been involved in a number of productions and films by this time, however none of which ended successfully. This, of course, did not stop her from pursuing diligently and staying focused on her dream of becoming a star. Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th. Not long after her dry spell, Andrews made an auspicious film debut in Walt Disney’s Marry Poppins

After her successful film debut, you would think that Andrews would continue on her chosen path, but she surprises us all by taking another route, — breaking yet another cliché. Instead of continuing to act in movies, she went back to where she started, the theatre. She did not cage herself into only becoming a performer in one form of the arts, but rather in many. She did not just let any opportunity go by. Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. Work hard, apply yourself, and be ready. When an opportunity comes you can grab it.

After this move, Julie Andrews went back and fourth between broadway and film, proving that she does not need to be confined in one form of performance and rather be versatile. You could say that she has been a chameleon in a field of brown lizards. Her versatility also included a choice of roles. She went from playing a nun, a nanny and a good girl, to transforming into a seductress and even appeared in the nude. “I don't want to be thought of as wholesome.”. Even as age caught up with her, she continued to play roles that need not to seem cliché. Recently, she has turned herself into a queen in the much popular Princess Diaries movie series. 

Julie Andrews is one of a kind. It has been in her character to pursue whatever she wants, whether that be small or big, or in spite what others may say would be the proper way to develop a career in Hollywood. This is what makes her a non-cliché, an unconventional star. This is what makes her special. And if that doesn't make you want to add her onto your list of your Favourite Things, then I do not know what will. 


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