Renée Toft Simonsen - 2008 - Renée Toft Simonsen

By Annette Hohberg, March 2008
The advertising beauties
NAME Renée Simonsen, 42
JOB Psychologist, children´s book author

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.

german myself
March 2008
29. April 2008 #19
Lars Laursen
german myself 03-08 - unknown german myself 03-08 zoomed close-up pic - unknown 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. danish BILLED BLADET 29.04.08 #18 at Thomas fathers 80. birthday by Lars Laursen

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 about Karla.
- 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
danish Mit Nordjylland March 2008 cover by Jesper Egholm "Relationer" 1 - danish KRIFA 02/08 by Jesper Egholm "Relationer" 2 - danish KRIFA 02/08 by Jesper Egholm "Relationer" 3 - danish KRIFA 02/08 by Jesper Egholm "Relationer" 4 - danish KRIFA 02/08 by 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 realism.

THANKS so much again to Anja for the translation!

danish X-KLUSIV April/May 2008 #2 - Thomas Lekdorf
danish x-klusiv 04-08 no. 2 1 by Thomas Lekdorf danish x-klusiv 04-08 no. 2 2 by Thomas Lekdorf danish x-klusiv 04-08 no. 2 3 by Thomas Lekdorf danish x-klusiv 04-08 no. 2 4 by Thomas Lekdorf
visit the online magazine

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 her?

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

The 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

"I 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?

Renée Simonsen: Better than ever. My 40s reassure me; it pushes me to do what really fascinates me.

M.C.: Which are your priorities?

R.S.: 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 cinema.

M.C.: But what worries you the most, your wrinkles, the strength of your body, the feelings of having less energy?

R.S.: 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?

R.S.: 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 FEMINA.

"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."


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 statistics.

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!