Renée Toft Simonsen - 2007 - Renée Toft Simonsen

By Karen Seneca, 28. February 2007

Renée has time for everything

Renée Toft Simonsen enjoys taking care of family and writing books full time.
It has been 25 years since Renée Toft Simonsen was proclaimed Face of The Eighties, but the still beautiful model has found her own niche far from the catwalk.
She has become a full time author so while husband Thomas Helmig travels around the country on tour she takes care of children, books and house in Risskov.
"It is mostly I who am at home at the moment, but it’s going well. The children are big now, the youngest is 8 and the eldest 14 so there is energy to commit to several things", says Renée Toft Simonsen, who became a qualified child psychologist in 2002.

"I don’t work as a psychologist but write the whole time and work on several different projects e.g. as a mentor in Kvinfo. And it is nice to always have someone at home when the children comes home from school."
Renée Toft Simonsen has been a member of Plan Denmark’s board the past 10 years and has now chosen to put her heart into yet another organization which fights for children’s rights – the newly established Children’s Heart Foundation which will be working to improve heartsick children’s conditions.
"I think that I myself have a lot and am very fortunate so I want to give something in return. Especially in these petty times it is important to do what you can. And children’s hearts have always interested me a lot – I am a qualified child psychologist, write children’s books and have a lot of children myself."

To lose a Child
Neither Tholmas Helmig’s daughter, Marie, Renée’s Ulrikke and Jens Kristian nor the mutual child Hugo has suffered from serious illnesses, but Renée can easily empathize with the fear of losing a child. Therefore she did not hesitate to join the board when she was encouraged to by Henrik Eriksen from Rigshospitalet’s (Copenhagen’s main hospital) Heartcenter.
"I have tried to go to the hospital with a little boy of two who has a high fever and the doctor says his neck seems stiff. You immediately think meningitis. Or when my son had to be operated for hernia and you watch him fall asleep from the anesthesia, it seemed like he was dying – I broke down then."
Apart from RFT, the Children’s Heart Foundation’s board includes amongst others Casper Christensen and Henning Dyremose.

Many thanks to Tina for the translation!

danish Ekstra Bladet
28. February 2007
Jesper Stormly Hansen
danish SE OG HÖR
February 2007
Claus Poulsen
danish HER & NU
February 2007
Klavs Bo Christensen
March 2007
March 2007
danish B.T. 4. March 2007
Jeppe Carlsen
danish SE OG HOR
#11 2007
danish Ekstra Bladet 28.02.07 - childs heart foundation by Jesper Stormly Hansen danish SE OG HÖR 02/07 - childs heart foundation danish HER & NU 02/07 childs heart foundation danish SE OG HÖR 03/07 - with Thomas at Danish Music Awards danish BILLED BLADET 03/07 - with Thomas at Danish Music Awards danish B.T. 04.03.07 - with Thomas at Danish Music Awards by Jeppe Carlsen danish Se og Hör March 2007 #11 - at Dolly Parton concert
Thanks to Karen Seneca!

danish FEMINA
29. January 2009
Sanne Berg
danish FEMINA
August 2007 #34
Sanne Berg
danish FEMINA 29.01.09 - white wool-pullover by Ernst Van Norde danish FEMINA #34/07 1 by Sanne Berg

Jens Hasse
#1 2009
danish BÖRN & UNGE 28 - 31. August 2007
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danish FEMINA August 2007 #34 - Sanne Berg
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danish Sondag 20. August 2007 #34 - Britt Lindemann
Söndag 20.08.07 cover by Britt Lindemann Söndag 20.08.07 pic 1 by Britt Lindemann Söndag 20.08.07 pic 2 by Britt Lindemann Söndag 20.08.07 pic 3 by Britt Lindemann Söndag 20.08.07 pic 4 by Britt Lindemann
Söndag 20.08.07 pic 5 by Britt Lindemann Söndag 20.08.07 pic 6 by Britt Lindemann Söndag 20.08.07 pic 7 by Britt Lindemann
Thanks to Tina so much!

danish Nyhedsavisen, 21. August 2007:

Renée Toft Simonsen
Author and psychologist
Close Up

Renée Toft Simonsen has previously written childrens books but has her debut next week as author of adult books.

If I were not talking to you I would…
Be on my way into my house and preparing for next weeks publishing of my book which is a novel for adults.

I should never have…
Picked up the phone, ha ha ha.

I hate myself when…
I do not hate myself. But I am not good when I make mistakes. I have to get better at that.

The piece of music that has meant a lot to me is…
The music from the movie "Schindlers List".

Historical person I would most have liked to be…
Katarina The Great, Marie Antoinette or Elisabeth I. Someone at a big royal court where big robes were worn and there were intrigues etc. I would have loved to be part of some royal court stuff.

When no one is looking I might…
Pick my nose.

If I had not met my partner and was going on a romantic vacation I would go with…
Johnny Depp

The last time I spent DKK 1.000 was…
For my sons birthday. He got DKK 1.000 and various things.

People erroneously perceive me as…
A confident person. Many think that because I have succeeded with something I can not feel insecure. But that is not true. Those two things are not connected.

Lately I have really felt like…
Vacationing more.

The most embarrassing thing that has happened to me is…
I can not remember. It takes a lot before I think something is embarrassing. But my children always think I am really embarrassing.

THANKS TINA SO MUCH for the translation!

By Niels Ole Qvist, 27. August 2007
Renée Toft Simonsen: I can forgive unfaithfulness

It is usually only in a fantasy this happens: suddenly you are sitting in a corner in a somewhat sleazy bar in central Århus and talking about orgasms, sex toys and unfaithfulness with a woman who has been called the worlds most beautiful woman.
But here we are in the intimate half darkness and Renée Toft Simonsen cannot help smiling widely at the situation.
"I have certainly never been here before", the 42-year old writer, psychologist and ex-top model says and looks around the worn down bar with decades of smoke clouds encapsulated in walls and chair seats.
Between us lies Renée Toft Simonsens new book which is published thursday with the title "Tuesday Morning". It is a dark and gripping story about six women who meet in the steam room at the swim bath "Spain" in Århus and share fateful stories. One of the women ends up being beaten to death, another pursuits the "uncomplicated screw", a third is victim to her husbands unfaithfulness with a young blonde.
Renée does know the piercing of the heart but is capable of fighting exactly that fear.
"Am I afraid of unfaithfulness? Not with the one I am with now. But again… Should it happen, I would probably be able to forgive. 20 years ago I would have said "Get out!", but my situation is different today. We have four children and a long history together. Should all that be ruined by a one-night stand? I think that the older you get, the better you get at accepting that things like that happen", says Renée Toft Simonsen and reflects more on the fear of betrayal.

Unfaithfulness in previous relationships
"However, you never quite know how you will react. In previous relationships I have been exposed to unfaithfulness and it was extremely uncomfortable and well… it did end with the relationships ending", she adds.
Renée Toft Simonsen, who in the 80s lived an apparently deeply glamorous life on the glossy cover of life as a supermodel in New York, still does exclusive modeling jobs. But today she especially enthusiastic about one thing: writing. She is the advice column editor of the weekly magazine Femina and has had great success with the childrens books about Karla.

Close to giving up
It has been a long, rewarding and sometimes fatiguing process writing "Tuesday Morning".
"Sometimes I have been close to giving up, but fortunately I have always been able to see it becoming cleaner and cleaner in its expression with every rewrite", she says.
Feminism and womens battle are perhaps not the first words you associate with Renée Toft Simonsen. But in the book there is a straight line back to the 70s very real depictions of womens lives.
"There is no superwoman or super detective who handles it all. It is completely ordinary women, certainly with hard destinies but still yes… ordinary", she says.
Her husband Thomas Helmig has taken the poetic photo on the cover. The sun shines in the soft waves in the Århus bay where an angel is dissolving under her halo.
The motif hits the atmosphere of the book. You think of Tove Ditlevsen – the undisputed interpreter of womens life in Danish literature – when reading the book. An endorsement that results in a happy smile from Renée Toft Simonsen.
"I LOVE Tove Ditlevsen. She is sort of a heroine", she says.

Plagued of fear
The main character of the book, 38-year old Iben, is plagued with anxiety which is closing in on her. Renée calls the anxiety a "monster" which she herself has fought since her youth.
And exactly here she hides one of the many paradoxes of her personality: the supermodel who has been admired by millions on billboards and magazine covers around the world cannot stand being the centre of attention. She hates, really HATES, presentation rounds. She has never given a speech and does not like strangers watching her eat. She is afraid that her hands will start shaking.
"If you asked me to give a speech right now, I would die of fear. When younger I was distressed but I have learned to live with it and accept that this is me. But I am deeply impressed with Thomas who can stand on a stage in front of thousands of people", Renée adds.
During periods, anxiety has played a big part in her life, but today it only bites occasionally.
"The worst part is actually fear of fear itself. That it will control too much of your life", she explains.
Renées book main character Iben starts the rise from the abyss of anxiety through the growing kinship with the women she meets at the swim bath. At the same time, hot sun centre sex helps her move on:
"It was a lot of fun writing that scene. It is hard to describe; it is the good old… well, in and out. How do you describe it so it becomes intense? I have tried to do it so the reader will feel it here", Renée says and puts her hand on her midriff.

Sex and sex toys
The women in the steam bath talk a lot about sex and sex toys. One has never had an orgasm and is fine with that.
"Some women are like that. I hear that. But I wouldn’t do it. If you’ve first had an orgasm, well then you want one again!" says Renée and elaborates: "Many women openly talk about the lack of desire. It is a way to break the curse. Sex toys can be a help, too", says Renée with one of the many grins.
In the book, the young wild Karla offers to instruct the others in using a dildo.
"That’s the way it is", says Renée to the wondering reporter: "The women in my life are very straightforward. They give each other sex toys… they say: you have to try this one". Well, we can also help buy it. What happens in the steam bath in the book is very close to my reality", says Renée.
She shares another thing with her characters: the annoyance that eternal youth does not last forever.

Parting with youth
"I spoke to my dad about it recently. Renée, there is nothing great about getting old, he told me! And no, who thinks it is great? There is something sad about reaching your 40s. I can still see myself on the beach on Anholt, running with the wind in my hair. But I am not 25 anymore. There are things that you have to say goodbye to.
The decay of the body is another knife to the flesh.
"I don’t like at all that my knees wrinkle… And from now on it only gets worse. When you turn 50, the bodily functions get worse. But there are also advantages… experience, right? Damn!"
"I am happy about the overview of my own life, over so many things. You start getting bigger historical insight, bigger understanding for our culture, stuff like that. You can see connections you could not see when you were younger", Renée adds.
She is excited about the reception of "Tuesday Morning" which she started writing when she spent a year with her family in a Spanish village.
"I am happy about the book. But also vulnerable. I guess you always are, when you put yourself out there."
After one and a half hours in the soft deep of the bar the interview is over. None of the eagerly listening men in the room have said a word while we have talked. You understand their silence:
"The face of the 80s" has apparently other faces than what for two decades has shone so glossily, invulnerable and without scratches from thousands of glittery ads.

Special thanks to Tina for the translation!

Claus Bech Andersen
danish B.T. 26. August 2007  danish B.T.
18. July 2009
danish B.T. 26.08.07 cover-pic by Claus Bech Andersen danish B.T. 26.08.07 1 by Claus Bech Andersen danish B.T. 26.08.07 2 by Claus Bech Andersen danish B.T. 26.08.07 3 by Claus Bech Andersen danish B.T. 18.07.09 Renee manager by Claus Bech Andersen
BIG THANKS to Tina! Thanks to Susanne!

By Christina Alfthan, 30. August 2007
Renée Toft has suffered from anxiety attacks for 20 years

Renée Toft Simonsen is fed up with being portrayed as picture perfect. So now she has written a womens book which is about anxiety neuroses, violence and how a friend can help start up the sex life.
It is always fun to pry a bit into celebrities personal life. But when it is about Renée Toft Simonsen and Thomas Helmig and their blended family then there is nothing much to pry into. Because they lead a terribly normal life and gladly talk about their life and the daily routines at home in the house in Risskov.
So it is no secret that Renée Toft Simonsen was a top model in the 80s and lived a jetset life based in New York only to stop her carrier suddenly before time and go back to Denmark. Here she had two children with her then boyfriend, chose to become a single mom and moved to Århus where she grabbed Thomas Helmig from his model wife.
It has now been 12 years and there is no longer much drama in Renées personal life. Now she is a psychologist and writer and the wild times have only been in the childrens books about Karla. But now Renée also wants to write for adults and today she makes her debut with her womens novel "Tuesday Morning".

To say things out loud
With the novel she is again on the front pages of the newspapers and magazines because Renée is a grateful victim to the press. She talks. About this and that and the intimate sphere is not something she worries so much about.
"I love saying what no one dares to talk about. Therefore I also write about sex in my new book. Here there is, amongst others, a woman who has never had an orgasm and that is indeed a bummer. Do you remember when you were 15 and afraid of saying what you liked?" she asks and replies herself.
"Some women never dare. But you have to say things because otherwise we are not moving on, right? And here you can use your friends and practice at saying it to them. And if you think it is disgusting borrowing your girl friends sex toy, then you can just go with a friend to a sex shop, right."
And then she puts the phone down because Thomas Helmig has to be kissed while you are listening in.

Anxiety neuroses
He says he would like to pick up the children today and she says "okay" and "Bye, bye baby". Then she is back again.
"The book is about the woman Iben, who has an anxiety neurosis and who has isolated herself completely from the world. But then she decides to do something about the problem, and she begins going to the swim bath every Tuesday morning. Here she meets a group of women who are friends and who swim at the same time and she slowly gets to know them. She sits and listens to them in the steam bath where they talk about sex toys, violence and unfaithfulness, and via them she gets on with her life. It is a development story", Renée explains.
But how on Earth has she come up with the idea for a book about anxiety neuroses?
She has because she herself has suffered from anxiety attacks for 20 years. For example, she cannot eat soup in big groups and she will never give a speech. But it is taboo talking about anxiety and therefore it has to see the light of day, she believes.
"When you have an anxiety attack, it is like sitting in a plane which you think is crashing. You get paralyzed with fear. Walking into a supermarket or giving a speech can be like that", she explains.
The first time she had an anxiety attack was at a party in New York and she did not know what it was. She could not be bothered looking into it so she dealt with it with a rum & coke. But the anxiety slowly got worse and gradually she understood what it was about.
"The anxiety was one of the reasons I stopped modelling. I had to stop and take care of myself. And the best way to get rid of anxiety is to talk about it. Say it loud and it goes away", she says.
But it has not been the story people have wanted to hear from Renée.
"When I said it, people thought I was kidding. No one asked more about it. It is not something anyone wants to talk about. But now I have begun to speak and talked about it. I hope it will help other people in the same situations as me", she says.
In the book it is a strong womens network that is the way back to life, and Renée does indeed not think that good girl friends can be overestimated.
"I think that there has always been a strong kinship between women. Women’s lives are linked together across everything. I also have my own "sauna club" with my friends. From my oldest friend Dorte to those I have from the mothers group. And it is a gift. Good friends who take care of you in the most respectful way. That is worth its weight in gold. But you only get good friends if you dare opening up and talking about what is difficult", says Renée.
She has spent a lot of time talking about her anxiety and wondering why especially women are gripped with anxiety. And with a psychology degree up her sleeve she has an educated guess:
"Anxiety is a breakdown inside of you. Basically it is about wanting to be loved and accepted. I was not loved enough as a child. My parents were very young when I was born. They were Marxists and wanted to realize themselves and it was like "Go away, we are going to have sex". It was not always a lot of fun", she explains.

Something to struggle with
Therefore the children’s upbringing is something which is very important to her.
"I really believe that you should think about what you praise your children for. Because you risk that they hide away those sides that are not praised. You have to be careful because not many children are that strong", she says. She also thinks that you should teach children to see the possibilities of growing in hard times and therefore she sometimes puts the children’s problems upside down.
"It is through the hard times you grow. So when my children get upset, I will say "Well. You have got a problem there. All of us need something to struggle with."

What do you admire the most about yourself? - "My potential for development."
Which trait about yourself do you like the least? - "That I can get too testy when I am angry."
What do you regret the most? - "The times when I have yelled at my kids in a bad way."
What do you like the most in your daily life? - "The days when I do not have any plans and can just hang out and do what I want."
What would you have liked to know 10 years ago? - "That it does not help to scold. Either children or men."

About Renée Toft Simonsen
Was elected Face of the Eighties at 17 and worked for 7 years as a model in New York.
Is 42 and married to Thomas Helmig.
Has 3 children and a step child with Thomas Helmig from his previous marriage.
Is a qualified psychologist and works as an author.
Lives in Risskov in Arhus.

Thank you to Tina so much for the translation!

danish Ekstra Bladet 2009
Andreas Szlavik
danish NORDJYSKE Stiftstidende - 30. August 2007 - David Bering danish HER & NU 7. October 2009 #40 David Bering
"nationen" - danish Ekstra Bladet 2009 by Andreas Szlavik danish Nordjyske Stiftstidende 30.08.07 1 by David Bering danish Nordjyske Stiftstidende 30.08.07 2 by David Bering danish Nordjyske Stiftstidende 30.08.07 3 by David Bering cover-pic danish HER & NU 07.10.09 by David Bering pic danish HER & NU 07.10.09 by David Bering
Big THANK YOU to Heidi! Thanks to Susanne!

danish Nyhedsavisen - 30. August 2007 - Poul Madsen
cover-pic danish Nyhedsavisen 30.08.07 1 by Poul Madsen danish Nyhedsavisen 30.08.07 1 by Poul Madsen danish Nyhedsavisen 30.08.07 2 by Poul Madsen

danish Arhus Stiftstidende
2. September 2007
Kim Haugaard
danish Sondagsavisen
16. September 2007
Sonnich Jensen
danish Arhus Stiftstidende 02.09.07 1 by Kim Haugaard danish Arhus Stiftstidende 02.09.07 2 by Kim Haugaard danish Nyhedsavisen 16.09.07 by Sonnich Jensen
Very special thanks to Karin!

danish nova September 2007 #10 - Bjarke Johansen
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Many, many thanks to Tina!

Mark og Bjerre
danish nova
September 2007
books magazine
danish Kulör October 2007
danish nye
November 2009
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danish Junior October 2007 - Kasper Thye
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Special thanks to Susanne & Tina!

danish Ekstra Bladet
4. November 2007
Jan Sommer
danish KIWI
February 2009 #2
danish HER & NU
11. February 2009 #7
17. September 2009
You can see the trailer
 movie here.
danish Ekstra Bladet 041107 Karla movie premiere by Jan Sommer "MINE VENINDER..." 4 at Karlas Kabale movie premiere - danish KIWI 02-09 by Teis Bruno danish Her & Nu 11.02.09 #7 with family at Karlas Kabale movie premiere - danish KIWI 02-09 by Teis Bruno with Hugo at Karlas Kabale premiere - danish Billed Bladet 17.09.09 Karlas Kabale movie poster copyright:
THANK YOU, Tina! Thanks to Susanne! ©