Toft Simonsen - 2004 - Renée Toft Simonsen
ELLE - February 2004 - Serge Guerand
article from german ELLE
In the 80s
Renée Simonsen had been the quintessence for uncomplicated
glamour. Today the ex-topmodel advertises with her face for the
cosmetic company Clarins: as woman and mother, whose beauty builts up
out of new sources.
The essence of the beauty is incredible many-sided. It shows for
example in a bewitched former railroad station. Around growth a
tremendously, wild garden. There are only a few steps to the sandy
beach. Here spends a woman their weekends which stood in the 80s for
female attractiveness in fair culture, but in its most vivacious,
vividly shaping. Renée Simonsen had been on over 450
magazine covers and was seven years one of the most desired models in
the world. Now she´s married, mother of 3 children and with
38 years still exactly like that wonderful. But just completely
different. More warm than in former times, maybe also cooler, calmed
This becomes visible at the ELLE -shooting in the danish village Vust,
who her mentioned holiday home is. Here comes Renée with her
family when she´s searching for silence. Without make-up, in
jeans and cardigan. Naturally and native, as she had lived here all the
time. So times do change.
Renée Simonsen had been discovered in 1982 at a model
contest of the danish magazine "Ekstra Bladet" and in the same year she
was elected in New York to the "Face of the 80´s". She broke
off school and went with 17 to New York. Flyed for fashion-shootings
and advertising campaigns around the world. Worked with the most famous
photographers like Gilles Bensimon. The man on her side at that time:
John Taylor, drummer of the pop-group Duran Duran.
With 24, on top of her career, the break came: Renée
Simonsen got out. The cause: a several months lasting stay to a Kibbuz
in Israel. Suddenly the fashion- and music-scene seemed to be too
superficial to her. She parted from John Taylor and went back to her
hometown Arhus, which she´s still living nearly today. She
made up her high school diploma, studied psychology, met her
contemporary husband, the danish singer Thomas Helmig, and gave birth
to three children: Ulrikke, 10, Jens Christian, 8, Hugo, 5. Now
she´s standing again after all behind the camera for the
french cosmetic company Clarins. For our luck, because she´s
showing what you can´t see oftenly enough: beauty has
unendless facets and can´t be reduced under no circumstances
on attributes like "young" or "perfect". "As a mother I don´t
have time for long care-rituals", says Renée. And
that´s she also don´t need. In the morning she lets
only pure, icecold water to her face. Then she puts the rich
"Créme Haute Exigence Jour" from Clarins on her face. In the
colder seasons when her skin is more dry and needs more care, she uses
under it as a care-extra the "Supra Sérum Haute Exigence".
Renée is a real sunchild, loves the beach and the sea. But
she had been never without any care in the sun, she was using always
suncream (in the face at least lightcarefactor 15, on the body 10). The
worth: less creases. Which is good, because Botox and facelifting she
disapproves for herself, "because with those operations the natural
facial expression suffers". That suits to the contemporary
Renée - as also the fact that she´s in regard to
make-up a minimalist. In the daytime lipgloss and black mascara is
enough. In the evenings she emphasizes her bright blue eyes as
favourite with smoky grey eyeshadow. Her product to remove the make-up:
"Démaquillant Tonic Express" from Clarins with orange-aroma.
Despite the three children Renée has maintained her figure.
"If you take care for a emaciated nourishment, you don´t need
a special diet". In her short spare time she has written a childs-book:
"Karlas Kabale" about a chaotic, lovely family. And a happy women -
ELLE 23. February 2004 #3034 - Serge Guerand
for danish PSYKOLOGI magazine, #1 2004:
translated by Anja - THANKS!
is hard to predict the past
you have taken your final exam at the Psykologi Insitute and got your
diploma, you do not automatically get a degree in psychic ability as
said it is hard to predict things, especially about the future
this is absolutely true.
I want to add it is just as hard to predict about the past. No
matter what people think, our faces tells us very little about who we
are, our background or the problems we have. The eyes are mirrors to
the soul, some say and the idea seems appealing. At the same time I
have to admit that I have been sitting in front of people who have told
me stories that I later learned were untrue. While I was sitting
listening to them I did not see that the person telling me the stories
were making it up. I did not see any signs in the face of that person
or in the mirrors of the soul that the story was false, maybe I was not
looking hard enough?
The face can without a doubt express much pain or grief, it can
show we are very happy, excited or extremely content in our
can see when the light in the eyes of another has been put out, there
can be wrinkles showing our age or signs of a certain state of mind
that has left a mark on us. The face can show our present state of
mind, but unfortunately it does not show much about what happened in
our childhood or how we felt emotionally last week.
I was at a family dinner not too long ago. We were at an inn in
Northern Jutland and there was song and dance after dinner. I was often
invited to dance by the eager-to-dance men from Northern Jutland and I
had a wonderful time. Later on in the evening there was one of them who
wanted to sit down and just talk for a while. He told me what he did
for a living and I told him I am a psychologist. That was the
magic word, psychologist. All of a sudden, he told me about his son who
just did not want to go to school and did not even want to talk about
why he did not go. It was clear to me the father had a hard
talking about this subject and as it is typical of folks from Northern
Jutland there were no excessive sentences. He looked at me and said
that he simply did not know why the kid did not want to go to school.
"But", he continued hopefully, "you must be able to tell me this, you
are a psychologist!". At first I was moved. To think what trust this
stranger showed me just because I had been reading a bunch of thick
books at the university, but then I also got worried. How was I to know
why his son did not want to go to school. I had no presumptions at all
to know anything about this. The man also thought that I was able to
look at him and see how worried he was and how much it tore him apart
that his son was unhappy. Furthermore he was a little embarrassad that
he and his wife did not get on with each other, they kept fighting and
accusing the other for being the reason for their sons problems. Now,
it was not I was not feeling sorry for the poor man. In the
of all the festivity he suddenly seemed so troubled, but on the other
hand I was still sweaty after our last dance, the music was loud and
made it difficult to hear everything being said and now he
wanted me to come up with a solution to his problems and I
His sons problems could be rooted in practically anything. It could be
something within himself, it could be difficulties with his friends,
perhaps problems with the other sex. It could have to do with mother,
with father, with sister, with brother or with the intellectual
challenges he had to take on when going to school.
I had to dissapoint the father and tell him this is not the
to have the kind of conversation he was in need of. He agreed
me on this, but said the reason he had told all of this was
because I was a psychologist and because he had a sense I was
to tell he had problems. Without so much as blinking I told
flat out I had not been able to tell anything about the
he was carrying around. What I had noticed was he was a good
dancer and I enjoyed being his partner in the dance
(it is not
always you have this pleasure when someone asks you to dance with). His
ability to dance well was as far as I had gotten in my
observation of him.
I do not know how far spread this idea is a psychologists can see
right through people? I have personally encountered this a few times
now and it is very flattering. I would wish it was true, because it
make my job as a psychologist easier. But when you have taken your
final exam at the Psychology Institute and get your diploma, you do not
automatically get a degree in psychic ability as well. It is
said there are people who can read the past and the future in
the palm of a
hand or in the stars, some people can even see who we were and where we
lived in a past life. Personally I have never been this fortunate. As a
psychologist you are trained in talking to and listening to other
people and if you are lucky you will, through years of experience, gain
some insight into the emotional patterns of other human beings. There
are probably both good and bad psychologists just as in any other
profession, but I would think most are just plain ordinary
So, just relax the next time you sit next to a psychologist at a dinner
party - the person is there with the same purpose as you: to dance and
og BORN -
March 2004 - Martin Tanggaard
from danish Foraeldre og BORN March 2004:
puzzle seems to have
fallen into place
In a real family
there are only 1 mom and 1 dad and some kids, which all are sisters and
brothers, all for real.
This is what Karla thinks.
She is 9 years old and is the maincharacter in Renée Toft
Simonsens first childrens-book "Karlas Kabale".
Fortunately Karla finds out a family can be real in
than 1 way - just like Renée Toft Simonsen today 8 years
after her divorce - is proud of her
mixed, but quite real family.
"It is all about belonging together. That we, who are living in this
house, have relations - that we belong together. Do we all love each
other eqally? No!
In this house we all love each other in different ways and for
different reasons, but we are still a real family. We know that when
the kids feels that "we belong together".
Not only fat happiness
Renée Toft Simonsen welcomes us to her big yellow house on
Skraenten in Risskov, which is one of the most attractive addresses
with a view over the Arhus bay.
Still model-hot in a age of 38 years and with visible flat stomach and
the smile which have brought her on the cover of the biggest
fashion-magazines in the world. She is married with a known musician,
mother of 3 wellfuncional kids and has both her carrier and motherhood
This article could stop here if she was the type who only shows the
happy parts of her life. But this interview is only a couple of minutes
before she takes off all the glamour and tells not
money makes it a dance on roses to be a single mother of 2 kids under 2
years. Or makes it easier to get out of the door early in the morning
with 3 kids and 6 lunchpackets, or to make the puzzle with new husband,
your kids, my kids and our kids to fall into place.
From her first marriage Renée Toft Simonsen has
Ulrikke, 10 years, and Jens Kristian, 8 years. Today her family also
include the singer Thomas Helmig
and their son Hugo, 5 years, and also Thomas' daughter Ida Marie, 11
years, who lives with them every second weekend.
The divorce from the director Kristian Sandvad has taken a distance,
but still has such a big place in her mind that it was her inspiration
to her first book Karlas Kabale.
"It was a big defeat to get a divorce. I was so anxious to
be alone and to take the father away from the kids. I knew I
giving them a big sorrow, but kept on telling myself it was
because I wanted to protect them from another sorrow. It would not be
right to raise them in a bad atmosphere.
But I will never forget when I sat in the car on my way back to Jutland
with two big-crying kids".
In the weekend before the sister had packed all
Renées home in Skovshoved in boxes and her dad made sure it
all was transported to Arhus.
Here Renée lived for 10 months in her mothers appartment as
alone-mother and student.
"The only thing that kept my mood up was, I knew it
could not get more worse than this. It was a safety to have reached the
buttom. I kept on saying "I will survive". And we all did. Also the
kids - and their dad".
Today her ex-husband has also moved to Arhus and lives just around the
corner. Ulrikke and Jens Kristian lives with him every second weekend,
then Hugo can enjoy to have his mom and dad all by himself.
"Hugo has everything. He lives the life which has been my own wish
since the day my own parents got divorced."
A couple of years after her divorce Renée met
Thomas. From the start the relationship included 3 small kids, who also
needed attention, and it did not make it easy to be newly in love.
"It was difficult for me to make room for another "woman" - even though
she was only 5 years old. Ida Marie is Thomas' firstborn child and is
love more than anything. I felt I was childish, but my feelings was
inevitable, and I learned how to live with them and keep them for
myself. A good stepmom is a person who can allow the kids love to the
dad and the obersite way. And I did also love Thomas because he was a
good father for his daughter" she says and laughs because he just steps
into the door. "But if I just knew how unpratical he is, I would
never..." she laughs and interrups herself. Her husband takes the
under his arm and leave it to his wife to tell about their relationship.
"It worked out from the start because we both had kids and knew the
conditions. I have also become wiser and more round by the years. When
I became mother sometimes I thought justice was missing. Today I
know we will never become "equal" when kids arrives in a
it is not "us" who become pregnant. It is me, the mother, who becomes
big and sweat, gives birth and breastfeeds. To work together as parents
has nothing to do with love. It is a working-relationship, and it is
about how many working-hours there are at day and how many jobs there
should be done. When I breastfeed at night, it is just
fair dad does the shopping and makes the dinner. I
felt everything was so
unfair. I was very 70-like and did not want to become dependent of a
man, but I did."
The missing equality was not the only thing which surpriced
Renée when she became mother.
"In my imagination I could continue with my life as it was before, and
then get someone to take care of the kid when there was something I
wanted to do. I got a shock. To realize time was no longer
own was a big pain - but a good pain, which I needed to learn how to
handle. Suddenly a baby arrives and you are not able to decide
everything by yourself!"
Breastfeeded in the zink
Renées first child, Ulrikke, was a real wanted child, and
Renée could have choosen to live a relaxed life as a
director-wife in Skovshoved. But instead she continued with her
psychology-study with all the baby-stuff with her. Nor a child or a man
should stop her in realizing herself. First one day, when she sat at
an exam with her breasts big and full of milk she realized something
was very wrong.
"I found myself standing and remove all the milk out in the zink and
jump in the floor of madness. This is my exam, my breasts, my milk and
me who decides. But then suddently I realized that it wasn´t
that way anymore. This was the milk that my daughter should become big
and strong of. It was her milk. It was a shock to realize a
my body now belonged to someone else. I had a responsibility to do the
best for her, and the best was not to throw her food out in the zink."
This experience ment that Renée slowed down. Her study
lasted a couple of years longer than first planned, and when she
graduated she turned down a job at the university.
"Maybe this means I will never get a job. But it is just sad
those who have to live without my good work. And I am sure, I
a good job the day I choose to. Just now it is perfect in my life to
write, and I am also realizing myself at this way" she says and it
like she made the puzzle with carreer and family-life to fall into
"I know I am very privileged. Money makes a lot of things easier and I
will not forget about. My life here in Skraenten is the life many
want to live and I feel very lucky. I am there when the kids needs me.
And I also have the possibility to give my son a day off from
kindergarden when he convinces his mother he has at
both of his legs" she laughs and demonstrates a jumping kid at 5 years.
Pregnant by a mistake
The ring has ended and the same has this interview. Without asking for
something to the headlines we ask a last question. Do you want any more
Renée laughs. "I have always imagined myself as a
mother of 4 kids, and I am almost
on when I also count Thomas' daugher. 3 years ago I became
pregnant by a mistake,
but it did no turn out the way it should have. The time
wanted very much another child. But today I think it was a
reaction when my whole body was influenced of hormons. Because
I gave it a second thought, it was ok it did not become a
have already become what is good for us, with 4 healthy and fresh kids
together. Now I am satisfied it did not turn out that way. I
started to feel the new freedom in my life."
thanks so much for this translation!
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