Model Emma Hepburn Ferrer was born the year after her beloved grandmother Audrey Hepburn passed away from cancer at age 63 in 1993. Yet Emma has followed in Audrey’s footsteps in more ways than one — as a model, actress, and, most importantly, philanthropist.

“I’ve started to realize how meaningful it is to me,” Emma exclusively told Closer Weekly — in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now! — at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball in NYC on Nov. 27. “I really do want to be of the people.”

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Audrey served as a UNICEF ambassador and Emma, 24, has been spreading the charity’s message around the world. “I woke up to it when I started speaking at these events and galas,” Emma told Closer. “It gives me a lot of hope.”

Emma’s father, Sean Ferrer, has told her inspiring stories about her grandmother. “He taught me from early on that she was not just this celebrity — she was super-selfless and generous and went out of her way to make a kind gesture,” Emma said. “That’s something in her life I try to keep alive.”

But Audrey wasn’t some sanctimonious saint. “She was really funny — everyone who knew her says she had a wicked sense of humor,” Emma revealed. “That’s not something I necessarily would’ve expected.”

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Emma cherishes the mementos she inherited from Audrey, including a gold heart necklace, turtlenecks, and a teddy bear. “If she’s looking down, she’d be most proud of [my work with UNICEF],” Emma shared. “We have all these celebrities associated with causes now, but that wasn’t the case before her.”

For more on Emma Hepburn Ferrer, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!