In Portrait no. 18 we share the life and – fashionable – style of our contributing editor, Tanja Minnee. New kid on the fifties block: from September 1966. Tanja was born in Apeldoorn as the youngest (and only) girl in a family of 6 children.
Growing up in a men’s world didn’t stop her from being a girl though, ABBA and Kate Bush fan she was. Tanja took ballet classes from the age of 9 which ultimately resulted in her being accepted to the dance academy at the age of twelve. After years of dreaming – and very hard work – to become a ballerina, she had to accept to hard fact that she would never reach the highest level.
At that time Tanja was scouted by Corine’s modeling agency, she took her chances in the fashion business. And never left. Not only as a model, Tanja also worked as stylist, was co-owner of a fashion label and is now working as a fashion illustrator and – consultant. Her modeling career? Still going strong.
She lives in the city center of Amsterdam with partner Olaf, British short hair Fay and their daughter Silke (17). Who just is about to become a model. The apple never falls far from the tree…
How do you feel about being over fifty?
Well, since I am quite fresh in my Fifties, I’m not complaining at all. Ask me again when I turn sixty, haha. As a matter of fact I have never felt better!
Which age is your favourite time? Would you like to go back?
I can already say that I don’t want to go back. Right here, right now is a wonderful place to be and I am looking forward to what lays ahead.
What would your ideal day look like? No restrictions.
We (Olaf, Silke and I) wake up in Hotel Het Rode Koper deep in the woods of the Veluwe, the Dutch national forest park. We take a long walk after a fantastic breakfast, then we’re off to Antwerpen. One of my favourite cities in Europe. Just in time for lunch at Graanmarkt 13 and some fashion shopping at the same place.
The afternoon is reserved for Museum Voorlinden.
Then back to the provence, Drenthe this time. We go for a late afternoon drink – might be a GT – around the fireplace in the Cognac Room of The Jufferen Lunsingh in Westervelde.
Back to Amsterdam it is for a great dinner at Mos Amsterdam. The are just rewarded with their very first Michelin *.
We spend the late evening at Muziektheater Amsterdam to see ballerina Igone de Jongh perform before we go off to Paris and sleep in Millésime Hotel.
From which experience did you learn, what made you stronger?
Looking back, I would say that four experience were life changing for me. First the rejection – when I was 17 – to continue the Dance Academy in Arnhem, after five years of intensive hard work. After two days of crying I had to prep myself for auditioning in Amsterdam and was promptly accepted! Although I never made it to prima ballerina it was a life changing lesson of fall and rise! Used this one on different occasions after.
The second was the death of my father by cancer, two years later. I was still very young and saw my mother struggle the years after. It made me grow up fast, taught me to be responsible and to never run away from difficulties. Deal with life as it comes.
Third experience was becoming a mother myself. This made me a different person in certain ways. More emotional and emphatic. Sometimes I tend to overdo this…
The last life changing moment was two years ago when my mother died. The source who gave you life and who was always there from the moment you started your existence, is just not there anymore. It takes a huge effort to get used to that. I miss her every day.
These experiences taught me not to take life for granted and to feel very happy to be alive.
What is your golden beauty trick or favourite product?
One of my secrets is to use a lot of layers in skincare. To clean my skin, eyes included, I use miscelair water by RoC. I start my skincare routine with Sensai Balancing Lotion, followed by Sensai Moisturizing Lotion and finalize with a day- or night cream. Brands differ, right now I’m into Susanne Kaufmann creams.
And cant’t live without YSL Touche Eclat, not very original I know. Oh, did I mention running and yoga?
Which book/film/music shaped/changed you and why should we read it?
One of the latest books of renowned Dutch writer Adriaan van Dis. Titled ‘Ik kom terug’ (I shall return) and tells us about the relationship between him and his mother. To me it was a clear description of a complicated but loving relationship with a dying mother.
Another one of my favorite books is ‘Hoe mooi alles’ written by Mirjam van Hengel about the very long lasting love of Leo Vroman and his wife Tineke Sanders. Full of life lessons!
I am probably born in a wrong era since I love to drown in Louis Couperus’ books. The people in it live their lives no different then we do nowadays, but they treat each other so polite and with so much respect. Would love more of that today!
Who should we follow on Instagram?
- @buttonfruit for amazing illustrations
- @laurakampman for inspiring female photography
- @therealpeterlindberg need I say more?
- @ alexcarl for fashion inspiration, Alexandra Carl is Fashion Director of Rika Magazine
- @karliekloss the model life today
What’s your favourite destination/hotel/museum/restaurant in the world?
- Destination : Paris. Or the Dutch Kroondomeinen at De Veluwe.
- Hotel : Jeevaklui Lombok, Hotel Julien Antwerpen, Millésime Paris
- Museum : Museum of everything, Fondation Beyeler Basel, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and ‘our’ Rijksmuseum
- Restaurant : two of my favourites are within biking distance: Mos A’dam and Toscanini Restaurant
What’s your signature dish? The one that makes your friends demand a seat at your dinner table. And Which childhood dish best represents the time and place of your youth?
Apart from bitterballs in the garden of our little countryside cottage just outside Amsterdam? I would say good ol’ pasta arrabiata. Apart from cooking, I love to go out for dinner. A feast!
And my mom was also loved very much for her famous Apple Dish: apple custard bread pudding. Sugarfail, yes.
Trivia time! Make a choice and share your favourite brand:
- Nailpolish or Lipstick?
Lipstick! Never leave home without it. Currently fond of M.A.C. and The Body Shop Matte liquids.
- Heels or Flats?
Flats as in sneakers or pennyloafers from GH Bass.
- Dress or Trousers
Trousers. For sure. 501 classic Levi’s for instant coolness. To dress up or dress down
- Coffee or Tea?
Coffee cappucino no sugar
- Swimsuit or Bikini?
Bikini I find a swimsuit just too warm, although I might look better in a one-piece…
More inspiring interviews in our Portraits series.
Want to share your life and style in these series or recommend an inspiring friend between 50-60? We love to hear from you. Please send us an email.