Toft Simonsen - 2008 - Renée Toft Simonsen
By Annette Hohberg, March 2008
The advertising beauties
NAME Renée Simonsen, 42
JOB Psychologist, children´s book author
MODELS FOR Clarins
Did you hesitate to become the "face" of a cosmetic company?
Not at all. I have quickly decided to sign the contract, because I am
certain Clarins offers very good products. Aside from inspires me the
company assumes social responsibility and champions for the environment.
How do you think about anti-aging?
Nobody can escape the aging process and the crinkles. So why not
face up the facts and just accept it? I think nothing of surgery just
to look like something you are not. It is humiliating and degrading.
Well, then you think nothing of diets as well?
I just like to eat, best meatballs and cheese.
But there are also phases - for example every time when I stop smoking
- I take care of what I do eat. I hate the imagination to become fat
and being not able to use my body not longer the way I would like to.
And what if you kicked over the traces...?
Then I pass on for some time of sugar and white flour. This way I do always manage to lose some kilos.
Three things you would take along to a lone isle?
A few corn-seeds, a milk-cow and my husband - then I would have always bread, cheese and sex.
|danish BILLED BLADET
29. April 2008 #19
||MULTITALENT First Supermodel, then she studied psychology.
The Dane Renée Simonsen is the "face" of a Clarins campaign
and by the way in real life blonde.
By Peter Borberg, Mit Nordyilland May 2008
It is so important to allow yourself sometimes to pull the plug and just relax
Since model Renée Toft
Simonsen made her debut in 2003 as author there has been full speed on
her writing. In just five years, she has written one novel, ten
children’s books plus a number of articles and feature articles.
But this year Renée Toft Simonsen has made a decision: no books
will be published.
- I need to breathe and relax. It is an enormous pressure to publish
something all the time, and it can likewise feel like pressure if you
always have a feeling of being on your way somewhere. It is so
important that you sometimes allow yourself to pull the plug and just
relax, says Renée Toft Simonsen. She is, she says, amazingly
good at the latter.
- During vacations I put everything aside. I am not one of those people
where work and vacation melt together – vacation is vacation,
says Renée Toft Simonsen, who is married to the singer Thomas
Helmig with whom she has four blended children.
- The most important thing about a vacation is that you are together
with someone you care about. For me vacation is first and foremost
family time meaning that during vacations something happens that it
very valuable namely that I feel the joy and meaning of being together
with my nearest relations.
Therefore vacation is also a time of stories – that is, a time with room for talks and presence.
Away from calendar hell
Renée Toft Simonsen’s interest in people’s spiritual
sides is not without reason. On top of her modeling career and writing
she is also a qualified psychologist. It is particularly the human
relations that interest Renée Toft Simonsen.
- Because it is in the relation to other people that we truly feel that
we exist. And are made. We are only something by virtue of our
relations – just like the newborn child which exists in relation
to the mother. It is seldom we emphasise that we feel best when we are
alone. Relations interest us, explains Renée Toft Simonsen, who
also centres on the relations in her acclaimed children’s books
- When are we someone? When am I the person I am? Not until I am
together with other people and talking. Only then am I born as a human
you could say. Here the vacation presents itself as an invitation to
engage in the joy of your relations. If you understand how to let
yourself do it, says Renée Toft Simonsen and points out
today’s common stress symptoms which she sees as a big problem.
- My experience is that Danish families have something to do all the
time. We are never still and the calendar is full for months. We want
too much in the time we are here. I see time as limited. I think that
we are here on Earth for a limited period so therefore there is only a
limited amount of time to spend.
- Unfortunately I think that we have developed a culture where it is
about seizing the day – but not until tomorrow. We are going
somewhere all the time but rarely at rest. We work all the time towards
the mew corner sofa, a new roof or a new porch. We must earn some money
which can then fulfill some needs that enable us to be like everyone
else. It is problematic because we forget to be present where we are.
The question each has to ask himself is: how do I wish to live?
Renée Toft Simonsen does, however, not think that her own life style is very much different from everyone else’s.
- I don’t fool myself into believing that I live more reasonably than so many other people.
On the other hand it gives me a sort of peace to search for the more
spiritual sides of life. If you do not pay attention to seeking peace
in your life and just go ahead you do not pay attention to anything at
all. Then you will never find peace in your life. I am not saying that
I have found peace in my life – I am saying that I look at peace
and think: I want that!
Autumn break in northern Jutland
According to Renée Toft Simonsen you have to go at it hard when you relax.
- It sounds strange but the condition for being able to relax is that
you are able to be tough in your life. When my family and I go on
vacation, for instance, we have a rule which says that no one can bring
a computer. Neither child nor adult. Such limits help strengthen
presence and the experience itself of doing something else – now
we are together and we are experiencing something which is
fundamentally different from what we are used to in our everyday life.
If we bring computers on vacation it destroys the way we spend time
together. In our society where everything has to happen so fast and
where we have a world of opportunities I think it is important to be
conscious about how we spend our time.
Renée Toft Simonsen points out that vacation is not necessarily about going away.
- No actually I often think that the long journey can be very
strenuous. I usually rewrite Hans Christian Andersen’s “to
travel is to live” to “to travel is to get there”.
- The good vacation is about what we get from spending time with each
other. Then it really does not matter where we are. The other day my
husband and I had dinner at a little Turkish restaurant in Aarhus. It
was a really great experience and I remember that I said it was
completely like being in Turkey. But the experience would never have
been the same without my husband, says Renée Toft Simonsen, who
also has a special relationship to vacations in northern Jutland. The
family has a summer house near Vejlerne* and both Thomas Helmig and
Renée Toft Simonsen’s families are from there. The couple
was also married in northern Jutland.
- It is a fantastic piece of Denmark. We always come up here during
autumn break where you really feel the unruly wind and nature.
- Northern Jutland is a quiet oasis which is not equal to Northern
Jutland being static. It is more of a place where you find some of the
peace we all need.
*) Nature reserve in northern Jutland.
The model, author and
psychologist Renée Toft Simonsen was born in Aarhus in 1965. She
had her breakthrough in the mid-80s where she became one of the most
sought after models and amongst other things was named Face of the
80’s. Renée Toft Simonsen later became a psychologist. In
2003 she had her debut as an author and especially her children’s
books series about “Karla” has been given critical acclaim.
Renée Toft Simonsen has three children and is married to the
musician and singer Thomas Helmig.
A BIG THANKS to Tina for the great translation!
|danish KIFA magasinet 19. June 2008 #3 - Jesper Egholm
By Majken Klintø, 4. June 2008
Award for Karlas Kabale
Renée Toft Simonsen of Aarhus has written the book and now the
movie adaptation has received the parish councils’ award.
The Gabriel award, which is awarded by the National Association of
Parish Councils, has been given to the movie “Karlas
Kabale”, Aarhus Stiftstidende writes.
The movie is directed by Charlotte Sachs Bostrup, who has also directed
“The Gregersen Family” and several of the popular
“Anja and Victor” movies.
But it is Renée Toft Simonsen of Aarhus, who has written the
book about 10-year old Karla, who tries to fulfill her biggest
Christmas wish, to gather the family for Christmas.
The parish councils have given the Gabriel award to ”Karlas
Kabale” because it is a fantastic Christmas tale and good social
THANKS so much again to Anja for the translation!
By Anja Damm, April/May 2008 #2
I am no career woman
From runway to kibbutz. From psychology student with a baby on her arm
and children’s books author to a spot on the bestseller list with
her novel "Tuesday Morning". Renée Toft Simonsen has seen and
lived life from more sides than most people. But what is it that drives
She is intelligent, well educated and beautiful. She has some lovely
children, a beautiful home and a man she loves. She has an exciting
career and a life which many women – and men for that matter
– would envy her.
This could be description of Renée Toft Simonsen herself, but in
this case it is about Iben, the main character in Renée’s
first novel "Tuesday Morning". Despite all possible outer success, the
doctor Iben fights anxiety and inner demons. Unable to face the world,
she hides at home, cuts off all social contact and turns her back to
her husband who more and more powerless seeks the company of the vodka
bottle. Only when Iben with an effort a Tuesday morning hauls herself
to the public swim bath, a way out of the darkness starts to show. In
the back row of the sauna she follows the conversation among a group of
women about everything, good and bad, in their lives, and slowly the
world opens itself to her again.
"Tuesday Morning", which is Renée Toft Simonsen’s first
adult book, follows a considerable number of children’s books.
Not least the series about Karla is very popular, and the first movie
about the thoughtful 10-year old girl premiered 9 November this year.
But the supermodel, psychologist, mother and author Renée also
has a lot on her mind and so much she wants to share. She gets the
insight, stories and commitment from a life where she during 42 years
has explored more of the nooks and corners of life than most people
manage to during a lifetime.
Kibbutz and hunger for knowledge
Renée was only 15 years old when she was discovered as a model,
and 17 years old she jumped from high school to the runway and directly
to the covers of the biggest international fashion magazines.
"I just thought
it would last a couple of years – and then suddenly seven long years had gone
by… I reached a point where I had to ask myself whether there was more than
this? And yes, I thought there ought to be. So I went to kibbutz and plucked
oranges for four months, and here I had time to think and really feel inside. I
had always wanted to study and was also raised to believe that you have to have
an education. I was myself driven by a strong inner need – I simply had to
change perspective on my life", says Renée Toft Simonsen, who chose to follow an
old dream about studying psychology.
"I was not ambitious
as such. I had just had my first child and I was not busy getting finished and
getting a job. I was just really hungry to learn something. And I was also
privileged – I had earned enough money to take my time to become absorbed in the
books I so hungered for.".
The overcrowded modern life
question about time and absorption is something which Renée
feels strongly about, and she does not doubt that we stress our
children and youngsters too much in an overcrowded daily life that does
not leave much room for energy for kibbutz and gut feelings.
"Today everything has to happen so fast, young people must finish their
education and have careers and success. I feel sorry for them and I do
think that we make a big mistake in that respect", says Renée.
The success criteria of modern life and pressure on people are also the
overshadowing turning point in "Tuesday Morning" and Renée beams
with commitment, indignation and empathy when you ask where she got the
story about the main character Iben and the five other women in the
book and why it is so important for her to share: "Turn around! Iben is
just a symptom of everything we modern people – not least women
– do to ourselves and each other. We are so busy keeping control
over our careers, our private lives, our children, our social lives,
our looks… Instead of following our gut feeling, we keep heaping
demands and ambitions on top of it. But the more you heap on, the more
the feeling of our inadequacy grows and then it goes wrong. Not so much
because we lose grip, but because we are ashamed about our lack of
control and hide away. And the worst part is almost that it has become
sort of prestigious to push yourself – if you are stressed out it
is equal to being important. At the same time it is very shameful to
talk about how we really feel and are stressed out about. But we simply
have to look ourselves in the eye: what do you really want? What are
your values? Feel!"
The fear of not being good enough
When Renée had ended her psychology studies, the inner need once again drove her to change her perspective:
"I thought that now I was going to get a job. But I actually wanted to
learn more so I sought a PhD scholarship. When I actually was offered
one, I asked if it was possible to do it part-time over a longer period
so that I could fit it into family and children. It was not. I spent a
whole summer contemplating and when I instead decided on realizing an
old dream about writing I actually went through a crisis. Because I had
given up the prestigious PhD title and if writing did not go well, if
nobody wanted to have anything to do with it – then where did I
stand? A homemaker who writes for the desk drawer while the children
are at school!"
Renée has no doubt that the insecurity and fear of not being
good enough which she has experienced herself is recognisable for most
women in our part of the world:
"I see it everywhere – with me, my friends and our mothers. We
feel obligated by all sorts of expectations from outside. If you have a
long education, you should use it. If you have a talent, you should
cultivate det. In the end, however, you are only accountable for
yourself. Then it is also yourself who decides!"
The hairthin balance
am no career woman. And then again, I am. I also strive – want to
make myself count and make a difference. But my core values is the near
things. Success? That is my family. That my children are happy. That we
can talk about the best and the worst across the dinner table. But it
is also having a book on the bestseller list. It is a hairthin balance.
A bit like the oxygen masks in the airplane: when you travel with
children, you are told that you have to put on your own mask before you
put on your childrens. Not to save yourself – but if you cannot
breathe then you cannot be there for others. I am a human who has lots
to give – if only you do not push me too much", says Renée.
Many thanks again to the great Anja for the long translation!
from french marie claire August 2008 #272 article "La seconde vie des tops"
My priorities: my job (psychologist for children) and my family!
In the advertisements for CLARINS she is radiant! The Ultra-bright
perfect teeth’s girl of our teen aging could be the intellectual
one of the supermodels band. She has never really moved from Denmark,
her original country, and can not stop studying, because she always
want to know more things.
Marie Claire: How do you feel today?
Better than ever. My 40s reassure me; it pushes me to do what really fascinates me.
M.C.: Which are your priorities?
I dedicate myself to my
family, to my new job of psychologist for children and to writing. I
have recently written a novel for pre-teens that is being adapted for
M.C.: But what worries you the most, your wrinkles, the strength of your body, the feelings of having less energy?
I entertain my shape a
maximum. I have the chance to live in Aarhus, a little town on the
seaside, close to Copenhagen. I run on the beach despite the weather
for 6 km, three times per week. That air with iodine is my permanent
oxygen breathing. And for my skin, I clean it every day with some milk
and a soft peeling.
M.C.: What essential thing have you learnt?
I can finally say yes to what I like and no to what I do not like. For me, it is a progress and the grant of age.
Thanks so much to Giuliana
for the translation!
danish BILLED BLADET, 28. September 2008 online article
Renée Toft Simonsen forgets birthdays
Renée Toft Simonsen is married to Thomas Helmig. Whether she
also forgets his and the childrens birthdays is not known, but she
rarely remembers her girlfriends special days
Renée Toft Simonsen is forgetful when it comes to birthdays and that creates problems with her girlfriends.
Author, model and psychologist Renée Toft Simonsen has many
balls in the air and that has a price. Renée always forgets the
birthdays in her surroundings. She reveals this in her weekly column in
"I am a master at forgetting peoples birthdays. It never fails. I go to
bed in the evening, determined to remember a certain birthday. I can
actually wake up in the morning and still remember..." she explain and
notes "And then I might go through the whole day without calling and
not remember until several days later."
And the forgetfulness threatens to have consequences. "One of my
friends has seriously thought about writing me off because of my
non-existing relationship to this special day", Renée writes and
complains that many of her friends celebrate their birthday every year:
"another year has passed, you have got more wrinkles and you must
celebrate. I do not understand."
BIG THANKS to Anja!
danish BILLED BLADET, 30. November 2008 online article
Renée Toft Simonsen fears divorce
Renée Toft Simonsen makes advent calendars for her
children. And it is a big task finding the right gifts when also having
to prepare baking day.
Thomas Helmig is in an exaggerated Christmas mood which makes
Renée Toft Simonsen fear a spot in the Christmas divorce
Christmas is a joyous but also busy time for families with children.
Renée Toft Simonsen has had to realise this. She has been busy
with findings gifts for her childrens advent calendars and she did not
get much help from her musician husband Thomas Helmig.
"I was close to throwing up when my husband sardonically suggested that
we make two extra calendars for the dogs: "We can wrap little treats
and bones", he grinned," Renée Toft Simonsen writes in her
column in FEMINA:
"What can I say... If he keeps up that good mood, then I think our
marriage will end up in the statistics where "divorces at Christmas
time" are listed", notes Renée Toft Simonsen cheerily, who by
the way has found the first gifts for the children.
Special thanks to Anja!