INTERVIEW she gave to danish
Ekstra Bladet 3. March 1991:
80s leading model is back in Århus on adult upper-secondary
course, with a weekend boyfriend, a Persian cat, family life - and
"I am a bit of a security addict. I like new
I also like having a base. Just having one place, to be around the same
people, having close contact with them. That makes life a bit safer. I
feel that seven years have "disappeared" out of my life. I am trying to
catch up on those now - sometimes by almost becoming a child again..."
model of the 80s, Renee Simonsen, aged 25, has come home. Two years ago
she exchanged the famous addresses in New York, Paris and London for a
side street in Århus.
Renée greets us
dressed in a cream-colored cable knit sweater and huge flax pants, with
shockingly short hair and no make up at all. She runs her hand through
the hair and says with a wry smile, "Whenever I want something to
happen, it is always my hair that pays. I had a flip and wanted to cut
it off. I had never tried that before and it actually looked very good
right after, but now I want to long again. People do not notice me so
much then, especially not when I wear my small, round glasses. And I
water for tea is boiling, the washing machine is making noises and the
Persian cat with eyes of the same blue as Renées runs
around the models legs while she puts mugs on the table. Nothing shows
that this is the home of an ex-international model. Renées
bohemian place that she has bought for some of the money she earned
modelling is full of photo memories, but not the kind from
international magazine covers. This is snapshots of family and friends
side by side with Walasse Ting, Russian posters and pictures of
Einstein and Barbara Cartland. "I like both of them. I used to call
them grandfather and grandmother", Renée laughs. She tells
how she worked her way through all of Cartlands novels when she was 14
and still has them somewhere in the basement. And Einstein is there
because is a wise man.
Her picture is probably still on some
teenage girls walls even though it is been several years since she was
active as a model.
am amazed that people remember me, but I do not think about it. I try
desperately to be normal, to be myself, but I think it is unfair that I
can not meet a person and be a "clean sheet of paper". People always
have an opinion about me because I am famous.
At some point I
it difficult that when I was walking around in Copenhagen, people
turned around and said "look how ugly she really is". Having attention
all the time is a pressure, being looked at and having to live up to
peoples expectations even if you are only grocery shopping. But I take
that easier now."
- Was it all of that that made you end
your modelling career?
do not know, but I do know that I have had enough. I could not stand
the constant touching me, the questions, all the attention. I felt
people were starting to look at me as an object. I was not a person
anymore, I was the model. I felt pressured and in the end, the
modelling jobs were only something that had to be done so that I could
go home and be alone. That is why there was no reason to go on. At
first, my plan was to take a year off and then return, but at the same
time I wanted more and more to study."
ESCAPE TO KIBBUTZ
Was it an escape from it all when you went to Israel and spent three
months in a kibbutz?
in a way. I just wanted to get away from everything, but it was also to
see how such a kind of society works. It turned my life upside down. I
found out that I could do other things, too. Because I am a really good
I spent three months there calming down. Worked
days a week, had one day off, and when the Sabbath started on Friday
night, we got drunk and danced all night, and then we started over with
six days work. Afterwards, I started changing my life. I stopped dating
John", Renée tells about her pop music boyfriend for four
the Duran Duran bassist.
"Suddenly I could see that we wanted
different things, and the break-up was unfortunately inevitable. We
were in love and if we had been older, we might have been able to save
it, but I need to be myself entirely, start a stabile life with family
and friends", says Renée, who is still in contact with John
Taylor. Mostly he calls her to tell about new records and new girls.
it is so typical me to find a boyfriend in Copenhagen when I finally
come home!", says Renée about Kristian Sandvad, manager of a
tinned fish company and from Klampenborg, whom she has known for a year
and a half.
They get together in holidays and weekends because
is determined to finish the adult upper-secondary level course that she
began in Århus in the summer of 1989 after having failed the
entrance examination to the College of Journalism.
"I need to
to myself that I can use my brain. I want to kill the rumor that you
are stupid if you are a model", says Renée, who is not the
book-worm in the family.
Little sister Iben is finishing 10.
to start Higher Preparatory Course, older sister Heidi studies French
at university and mother Ingrid, who is a nurse, studies Psychology.
that marks the conversation around the dinner table," says
Renée, who loves having the family near again. Her mothers
sister lives in the same staircase with her husband, her mother lives
next door and the sisters are not far away either.
is one of the hardest things I have ever done", says Renée
her adult upper-secondary level course which she hopes to finish this
summer. "I still dream about becoming a journalist, but it is not
imperative. Maybe I am not talented enough. In that case, I will try to
enter the Psychology study, if I can meet the admission requirements.
Or I will have to try to prove my worth by points. I just do not know
how much modelling work counts. Even though I do have a lot of
experience with people!"
The phone is never silent from her
and English agents. Renée is still wanted by radio, TV,
magazines and papers, but most of the times she says no.
course they can call me. I have been offered a part in a italian movie
which is flattering. It just can not be right now, but I am not burning
After my exam, I would like another sabbatical
Then I would travel in South America, but now I have a boyfriend and he
can not come with me.
I also think about the future which is
now than when I was 16. Back then, when I signed the contract with
Fords, I did not think any further than earning the 100.000 dollars. In
ten years? You never know. Maybe five kids and a dog in the back yard?!"
MANY thanks to Maria for