Monday, January 24, 2011

Picture Perfect

Danish supermodel Renee Simonsen was the ultimate embodiment of beauty during the Eighties. In 1982, a then seventeen year old Simonsen, entered and won the Ford Supermodel of the World contest. Simonsen signed with Ford Models and was whisked off to New York where she quickly captivated the modelling world with her voluptuous pout, piercing blue eyes and healthy good looks. 

Simonsen's perfectly symmetrical bone structure, luminous skin and dazzling smile made her one of the most celebrated models of the Eighties, with numerous appearances on the covers of American Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Self and Cosmopolitan. Simonsen's fuller figure and naturally athletic body made her a firm favourite with ELLE magazine and landed her two consecutive appearances in Sports Illustrated's famed Swimsuit issue. Throughout her modelling career, Simonsen's face has been the star of beauty campaigns for Cover Girl, Revlon, Biotherm, Clarins and Vichy cosmetics.

In 1989, at the very height of her modelling fame, Simonsen decided to take a break from modelling and the fast paced New York lifestyle. Simonsen had recently recovered from a serious liver infection and had also ended her relationship with Duran Duran bass player John Taylor to whom she had been briefly engaged. Deciding that she needed to assess her life and future, Simonsen went to Israel for three months to live on a kibbutz. 

In an interview with Danish magazine Name it, Simonsen reveals that she had started suffering severe anxiety attacks to the point that she could no longer stand being in front of a camera. "If I had stuck around a bit longer, I may have lost touch with what really mattered to me - I had to find out if I really wanted to stay with my pop star boyfriend and travel the world. People tend to think that celebrity life is the ultimate dream - but when you are actually living that life you know that it is not all that glamorous."

The following year, Simonsen retired from modelling and returned to Denmark to finish her high school education and to study child psychology at university. In an interview with Wallpaper magazine, Simonsen explains that "I wanted to do something where I was using other parts of my body. It seemed to me that Scandinavian girls always had some idea of returning home and were working to that end. In an industry where you have to fight to remain yourself, they seemed to hold onto the core of who they were. They stayed true to their roots." 

In 2002, Simonsen completed her psychology degree and is an award winning author of children's books and novels, and the director of an internet-based start up company called The website provides an online service to assist divorced parents with planning and scheduling challenges. Simonsen now lives in Aarhus with her husband Danish musician Thomas Helmig and their four children.

French ELLE - August 1987
Photographer - Gilles Bensimon

US Harpers Bazaar - November 1985
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo

Cosmopolitan - September 1985
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo

Mademoiselle - August 1987
Photographer - Paul Lange

Cosmopolitan - April 1988
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo

US Vogue - December 1984
Photographer - Richard Avedon

Self - May 1987
Photographer - Richard Avedon

Mademoiselle - October 1987
Photographer - Richard Avedon

Cosmopolitan - March 1985
Photographer - Francesco Scavullo

US Vogue - September 1983
Photographer - Richard Avedon

Renee Simonsen & John Taylor
Photographer -  Unknown
Source -

Renee Simonsen
Photographer -  Hiromasa
Source -

Covergirl Renee Simonsen
Photographer - Unknown
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