Toft Simonsen - 2006 - Renée Toft Simonsen
By Lykke Søby, 16.
Renée and Lillebror
Toft Simonsen knows how to write children’s books.
believes that books are important for children since they give them
freedom to use their imagination more than other media.
Why do you write
honestly don’t know, but I think it was because my universe
that time in life was a lot about children, their thoughts, their lives
and their activities. I have always read a lot myself and found much
comfort in books when I was a child. And then I just love
children’s books and children. Karlas Kabale was just the
that was there at the time when I started writing.
Which role do parents and
siblings play in your books?
far they have played a very large role e.g. in the Karla series. In
Lillebror (Lille brother) they are less important. A child is at best
always a part of a whole and the whole is what forms the child and what
the child acts up against, it is usually parents and siblings who are
the closest. With Karla it was important for me to tell a story where
children would recognize themselves. They should be able to mirror
themselves and get something that tells them something in relation to
the everyday and lives they have. Therefore, family became very
important in those books. Moreover, family is incredibly important to
me personally, and I actually think that I am the type who will always
write about things that mean something to myself.
What type is Lillebror?
is the kind of boy that lives inside his own mind. He has his own world
and lives his own life. A boy with a big imagination and an indomitable
energy level. He is the type who wants what he wants and therefore
finds all kinds of ways to get it. At the same time he is a good and
loving boy and full of mischief. I think he is a really good playmate
because he always has new ideas of what to play and is always up to
would you like children to take with them or learn from your stories?
and foremost to be good people, to behave decently, this is not to say
that they cannot be naughty or self-centered. They can be that, but to
me there is good and evil. In the adult world things like that can at
times be hard to define, but with children you have to be much more
direct. With Karla it becomes very obvious whereas it with Lillebror is
not about the big existential things. Lillebror can show that you can
be a good child even if you e.g. steal a little chocolate. Children are
so wonderfully spontaneous and that chocolate is the most important
thing in the world is something they can relate to, also without being
moralizing about it. In my stories it is also very much about being
true to yourself and if you can pass that on, much is achieved. Feeling
and acting in accordance with the feelings you have and not in
accordance with what everyone else thinks. Also, I don’t
can control what people get from reading my stories. Everyone will get
what they can or need and that is nice.
How can you make parents read
more to their children and how can you make children read more
don’t know if you can make anyone do anything. What you can
while trying is to inform about how important that part of life is.
Fantasy, the free space and the abilities developed with regard to all
other aspects in life. To be a good reader rubs off most of the way up
through the course of education and culture and it gives a child
abilities that are essential in our part of the world.
Very special thanks to Tina for
17. August 2006
SE OG HÖR
|german rtl2 evening news
report about danish designers munthe plus simonsen with
Renée in the audience (right) aired 15. August 2006
13. August 2006
Please, check also here
for some wonderful
photos taken by danish photographer Ole Bo Jensen of Renée
in August 2006!
Söndag - 2. October 2006 - Britt Lindemann
|danish familie magasinet
April 2009 #1
|danish Se og Hor 2009
Small summary of the danish
Söndag and B.T. October 2006 articles:
"Dreams are a giant native power. I do have many dreams. Not all have
yet come true. But they are all very important to me", says
Renée. One of it, to open a house for old people, has not
died yet. Renée used to dream of the perfect family: where
all the kids have the same mum and dad. They went to
Spain with the wish to get a new life. - "I do fall in love
with my husband again and again. Especially when he goes on stage or
when he does something great with the kids." Renée and
Thomas has been together for 10 years. "My need for symbiosis may be
bigger than my husbands". - "Karla is a bestseller and I am proud."
Spain gave love a new life. Renée and Thomas cut off one
year of the calendar to get away from stress and hurry. The trip to
Spain had been a fairytale with witches, trolls and dragons. The word
"time" got a new meaning in Spain. The year away from the danish
"everyday" got the family closer together, but not always without
trouble. Especially the kids had a hard time when they moved to Spain.
has finished her 4. Karla book. She has a big talent to write childrens
books. They are a big success - the first 3 books sold over 30.000
copies. Renée got inspiration for her books from children
she has met in real life.
to Susanne for the summary!
B.T. - 8. October 2006 - Ernst Van Norde
23. December 2006
Ernst Van Norde
12. April 2007 #15
Ernst Van Norde
1. February 2009
Ernst Van Norde
|french Valeurs Actuelles
TV2 "Go Morgen Danmark"
3. November 2006
was awarded at
the 2. Nov. with the CLARINS "The Most Dynamic Women" prize »»».
The prize is donated with 150.000 DKR and went directly into a relief
project of Plan Denmark for children in Kenya. CLARINS
rewards since 1997 courage and mission for needy children.
||Special thanks to
Renée Toft Simonsen
and Plan Danmark receive award
company Clarins A/S has since 1997 given away the award Prix de la
Femme Dynamisante/The Most Dynamic Woman Award – an award
which is given every year to an exceptional woman who works to give
children in need new hope and personal dignity.
award was given for the first time to a Danish woman who is known for
her former job as a model and present job as an author. The woman is
Renée Toft Simonsen, who received the award for her work for
the organization Plan Danmark.
Renée Toft Simonsen
is a graduate in psychology with specialty in children’s
psychology. Privately she is married to Thomas Helming and together
they have 4 children.
Renée Toft Simonsen has been
a member of Plan Danmarks board for a number of years and has been
sponsor for Joaquina in Bolivia for 8 years. Renée visited
Joaquina together with Thomas in 1997 and Joaquina has changed the
family’s view of everyday life at home.
- Through my
sponsorship my own children become aware of the necessity to help other
children who are less privileged. I think it is important that they
know there are children in other parts of the world who have to walk 10
km to fetch water, Renée has said.
Toft Simonsen has published 4 children’s books in the series
about Karla, her first book was published in 2003 by Politikens Forlag
(the publisher) and the latest book in the series, “Karla
& Jonas”, was published 12 October 2006.
has always been very involved in children and children’s
conditions of life and has for many years been active in the fight for
bigger understanding and respect for children’s rights across
countries and cultures.
In 2004 Renée wrote the
epilogue to Henning Mankell’s book about aids ”I
die but the memory lives on” which is about the memorial
books Africa’s strong women write to their children when they
know that they are going to die. In this connection Renée
visited Plan’s memorial book project in Uganda.
Plan project includes thousands of memorial books and Plan has started
the project because children often are forgotten when their parents get
sick from aids. The children are not told properly about what is really
happening and they feel scared and unsafe. When the parents die, the
children not only lose the people who care most about them but also
- The memorial books are palpable proof that
the children have been fact been loved. And that is important,
Renée Toft Simonsen said after her visit to Uganda where the
children’s fate made a deep impression on her.
2005 she visited one of the poorest areas in India in connection with
Plan’s campaign for birth registry. Yearly 48 million
children are not registered at birth and without birth registry the
children have no way of proving their age, nationality, where they
belong or who their parents are.
This makes them exposed and
vulnerable to trafficking and child labour and most of all means that
they have no rights at all and thus have no access to e.g. school.
Now I have established that the children who are registered at birth,
thus getting proof that they exist, actually also have a better life
with more options, Renée Toft Simonsen said after her visit
Clarins is aware of its responsibility towards
society. No company can ignore the world of which it is a part, it is
said and furthermore:
Clarins wishes to be conscious of its humane responsibility and regards
it a duty to always keep the eyes open and see also with the heart.
From the founder Jacques Courtin to the sons Christian and Olivier a
bond of life and love exists which also influences the family company
For Clarins it was obvious that the award 2006 should
be given to Renée Toft Simonsen. This exceptional, generous
woman who with her sense of compassion and humanity once again proves
that beauty and heart goes hand in hand.
The award consists of
a money donation, a concrete help which makes is possible to finance
projects in favour of children in Kenya through Plan Denmark.
Danmark about Plan Danmark
Plan Danmark is part of Plan
International – one of the world’s largest
humanitarian organizations with focus on children. Plan is a
cooperation with over 1 million sponsors who sponsor 1.3 million
children in Africa, Asia and Latinamerica. Through 70 years Plan has
helped more than 50 million children by creating lasting improvements
of their living conditions.
Plan Danmark, Gwen Wisti, Rosenørns Allé 18, 2th,
1634 Kbn V, Tlf. 35 300 800, e-mail: email@example.com, web:
to Tina for the translation!
|danish KARRIEREVEJVISER 2007 book - Ole Bo Jensen
||Check here for more pictures of Ole Bo Jensen he took in August 2006 of Renée
Interview she gave to
Karrierevejviser - © Move On Communications
Do not forget the values
was ”Face of the 80’s”, adorned fashion
magazines around the world and
lived a popular jet set life. Then she found a completely different
career path – and a third. Today Renée Toft
Simonsen can therefore also
add graduate in psychology and author to her business card. Here the
former top model talks about the difficult choices of her career.
do I have that makes me capable of advising new graduates of
The humility is clear in Renée Toft Simonsen but not fair at
career has been unusual and offered several radical changes which seen
from the outside must have demanded many sleepless nights filled with
considerations about the future. Those considerations are interesting!
Because they can serve as an inspiration and motivation for those
graduates who are about to choose the right career path themselves.
quickly shows that Renée Toft Simonsen actually has a lot of
advice in the bag to the labour market candidates. Without big effort
she finds it – well mixed with her own experiences from three
completely different career courses. Common for them all is that she
has tried to stay true to her values, those which her parents have
branded in her and those which she now also impresses on her children.
is both about feeling in your gut whether the career – and
particular – feels right. It is about having a duty to take
of the possibilities you have and fill your potential. And it is
especially about living like a decent person and in common Danish
decently”. That’s it! Those values have been
epoch-making for Renée
Toft Simonsen – also career wise.
You need an education
grew up with the slogan that you need an education. Therefore I have
never doubted that I would get there one day. I saw the years as a
model as a unique opportunity to fill up my bank account so that I
could study without getting a huge student debt”,
Renée Toft Simonsen
says and concludes that the mission is accomplished, but that she in no
way was a happier person from making a lot of money:
was in many
ways a superficial time where I invested a very limited part of myself.
After 7 years I had enough. I forgot myself and my mission –
was not just about Danish kroner and ører. I started caring
covers I could get”, says Renée Toft Simonsen.
one year’s time
for reflection Renée Toft Simonsen made a clean cut to the
She ran away from a contract because she felt that she was losing
herself and knew it was the last chance not to drown. The trip went to
Israel because, as Renée Toft Simonsen says, then you do not
to think about what you want as long as you are in the middle of
something else. Therefore she exchanged the podium and limelight with a
kibbutz stay and plantation work.
Pull yourself together
in the orange plantation Renée Toft Simonsen rediscovered
and it became the start of more than one decade behind the school desk.
First with a high school exam and later psychology studies. The studies
were completed brilliantly and Renée Toft Simonsen has no
doubt why: “I
am sure that when you know what you want and know what it takes to get
there, then you pull yourself together. It is probably that way with
all things in life, she notes.
Career and family
psychology studies where completed with three maternity leaves, one
divorce and one wedding. But Renée Toft Simonsen reached her
2000 and became a qualified psychologist. She was high on writing her
special subject and became deeply absorbed so she was close to
accepting a Ph.D. “It was as if I set new goals for myself
all the time
and forgot the original. I just had to get there and then I would relax
and enjoy life. But “there” was pushed all the
time, Renée Toft
Simonsen says, who despite the study ecstasy chose to decline the Ph.D.
and instead commit to her children and the family.
everything to me. So a full time job did just not fit into my idea of
mornings without busyness, angry faces and hurry up and eat your oat
meal”, Renée Toft Simonsen smiles.
stay at home mom is not
synonymous with a woman who only flips cutlets and washes
clothes – at least not in Renée Toft
Simonsen’s home. Therefore she
threw herself into an entirely new role as author and has now several
children’s books behind her and new projects underway.
as a psychologist is used every day – both privately and as
an author –
so it is definitely not wasted: “If I in five years find out
would like to practice as a psychologist then I will do that. I do not
believe in getting too old for a job because everything you do and the
experiences that follow in the wake you will always be able to use
provided that that the time is spent wisely and constructively, of
course, says Renée Toft Simonsen.
now Renée Toft Simonsen is at a place in life where there is
between the inside and the outside. “I experience a huge joy
expressing myself in writing and I would like to get even better at
writing. I am still a novice in the author circle and am often insecure
about whether what I do is good enough. But I have a life where my
values and career go hand in hand and that is crucial”, says
the former top model a good career is therefore about values and when
the boundaries are crossed and you do no longer have that good feeling
in your gut then it is about finding something else to do.
Simonsen would like to be challenged but she will no longer live up to
other people’s expectations – only her own:
“I do dream about more
career but it has to be with the right values”, she says.
picture of the former top model is not only a sketch but a crystal
clear picture of a woman who despite her just 41 years of age has three
whole career courses behind her. From catwalk to qualified
psychologist. From maternity leave to authorship. But what does
Toft Simonsen really see when she looks in the mirror? Her own answer
is a seeking woman who rests in herself while seeking new challenges in
her career. Because that it what life is about for her.
Take the chance
Toft Simonsen believes that destiny rules your life. But it is
great extent about being in the right place at the right time and
daring to reach out to the possibilities which offer themselves. There
are plenty of choices, and Renée Toft Simonsen is definitely
envious of the young people and understand if they are confused about
But she urges to feeling in your gut and reaching
what feels right: “Find some good role models who have some
which you can vouch for. It does not necessarily have to be living ones
but the values should be in place. Then you are well on your way. And
then the unavoidable in life is that for every time you make a choice
you also say no to something else. That is the way it is. You cannot
have it all”, she concludes.
It may sound trite but
there is sense
and experience behind the words: ”As a model I have
something that only few women experience. But I have also given a lot
up. A lot of money in your account is definitely not equal to having a
happier life even though it does make some things easier”,
As she sits there with her million dollar
however, she does not seem burdened by her life situation. The career
path has been long and winding but Renée Toft Simonsen sits
the longest straw in her career: “I have adapted myself very
can do some modelling and then I can manage financially for 3 months
where I can spend all my energy on writing”, she explains.
only two companies are lucky enough to have a contract with the super
model who only does exactly the modelling jobs she wants to and has
is thus a higher level of calm and overview over her career now than 15
years ago. Renée Toft Simonsen seems serene about life,
career and what
both things will and must bring in the future: “In 10 years I
hopefully still be writing, but I can also imagine working for an
organization like Médecins Sans Frontières.
Furthermore we will
probably also travel a lot because I want to teach my children to be
open and tolerant towards foreign cultures. That is needed in these
petty times”, snorts Renée Toft Simonsen.
hope for Renée
Toft Simonsen is thus to pass on her own earthbound values to the next
generation of Toft Simonsen. Whether that entails that the children
have a just as exciting and challenging career as their mom time will
tell: “I do have a hope that my children will also want to
themselves – not necessarily academically – but at
least have an
education. Because it is very important in my view”,
She can look back at a mixed
career which has
paved the way for her around the cities of the world and hurried
fashion environments. But she stopped, felt inside and found paradise
at the outskirts of Århus.
BIG THANK YOU to Tina for the
|danish Berlingske Tidende - 14. October 2006 - Martin Dam Kristensen
|Thanks to Armelle for the exchange!
Go to see the original article here!
Aftenposten - 3. February 2007 - Thomas Petri