Exclusive interview with Nena von Schlebrügge, Uma Thurman’s mother
03 December, 2018
Exclusive interview with Nena von Schlebrügge, Uma Thurman’s mother
In 1955 photographer from Vogue Norman Parkinson went to Stockholm where he met 14 years old Nena von Schlebrügge.
This meeting became the beginning of modeling career for Nena von Schlebrügge. It is quite easy to see Uma Thurman in Nena’s face – after all, she is a mother of such a talented Hollywood actress.

Nena von Schlebrügge had already been a famous model in the 1960s, when she met Salvador Dali. She became his muse eventually. Nena’s second husband is
Robert Thurman, father of Uma and other 3 children.

Nena von Schlebrügge does not give interviews to anyone, but she accepted an offer from the Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra and spoke about her life, religion and family.

Let’s start our interview with the question about your modeling career:

How you began modeling? Did you follow your maternal grandmother, as she had served as Axel Ebbe's model for Famntaget ("The Embrace"), a 1930s statue of a nude woman that overlooks the harbor of Smygehuk in Sweden?

I never thought that I would be a photographic model, at that time, at 14 years I felt like the ugly duckling… as it happened one very rainy day my girlfriend and I looked out the school window and saw a family friend under an umbrella outside in the yard , we went down and she told us to come after school to a hotel to meet a famous photographer... so we went there and I remember sitting in a chair and looking up at a very tall man with a mustache , he looked at me and said ,” I’m a photographer at British Vogue “, I said “ what is Blouge? Apparently he fell in love that moment... his name was Norman Parkinson.

You have been photographed by fashion photographers. You’ve been on the top of fashion industry. Could you look back and tell us some details of working with famous photographers or designers?

During my seven year Career, I did exclusively “high fashion photography”, as it was called in those days, so I did not have much to do with designers. I would be booked by a magazine or an advertising client and arrive at a Photographer’s studio with my heavy big bag full of make up, hair pieces, even high heel shoes! In the early sixties, we models had also to be expert in make up and doing our hair for every shot! I would go to sleep with hair curlers, then wrap a silk scarf around my head in the morning on my way to the studio.

Only for special shoots like a Vogue Cover, would the client bring makeup artists and hairdressers.

Read more: Gregory Pekk and Marcello Mastroianni and their friendship with Georgians

The difference between the best photographers and the others in my experience was that the great ones took fewer photos as they could sense what they had just shoot was “the one“. Some other photographers needed to take many photos, which was much more tiresome.

Could tell about friendship with Salvador Dali?

So I was living and working in NYC and feeling very at home here. It was the center of the fashion world then. One Sunday morning I was awoken with a telephone call from Peter Beard, a young adventurer photographer, who begged me to get out of bed and come with him on a location shoot with Salvadore Dali, as the model he had booked had become ill suddenly. I said ok I’ll do it and half an hour later a limousine pulled up outside my door and I stepped in next to Salvadore Dali, I took my dark glasses off and looked at him and said “I’m very nearsighted “whereupon he smiled and said “oh, so you are one of the blind people “, and so began a wonderful friendship . I used to go and visit him at the Saint Regis hotel in midtown Manhattan where he and his wife Gala would spend every winter ,,,after work in the Late afternoon for cocktails , Once he told me he loved NYC , “ the atmosphere here is so thick , you could cut it with a knife ..”he was very fun and charming too , and we had some interesting adventures as well ...different people would come and visit him these afternoons at the Saint Regis.

You are in marriage with Robert Thurman 51 years. Robert Thurman is the first American to be tonsured in Buddhist monks personally by the Dalai Lama, how can I pass the chance of asking about this fact, I think that Robert is often asked about this meeting.

So Bob Thurman and I meet in 1966 at a friend’s place outside NYC ...He was still a monk at the time , dressed in monks clothes and had a very serious demeanor. He had been contemplating on returning to lay life, as in those days there very no Tibetan Monastery‘s in the USA aside from his teachers Mongolian one in New Jersey. He was thinking of returning to Harvard and finish getting his PH D degree in Buddhist Studies and to be of service in this way ., as a lay person . I had been interested in “what is the meaning of life “and such perennial questions since a teenager, so I found conversations with him most enlightening. Answers to my many questions we’re now finally answered through his extensive knowledge of Buddhism.

Read more: Tako Natsvlishvili for Grazia Italy Nov18

Our friends at the time said that they thought we were the most unlikely couple to succeed! The monk and the Model! Two different words, how wrong we proved them to be!

What is the secret of your happy marriage?

As people are so varied and their cultures also, which influences their thinking and customs, there is as with most things not one fit answer. In my life I will mention a few things that have worked for me, I call it “Taking Turns “. It seems that part of human nature is to try to establish dominance, so in a relationship that also happens ,,one partner will have more of a say in what the couple will do and the other one will have to go along . So here comes the idea of “taking turns “. A childhood game actually. Both partners agree to play, it means that they each agree to go along with something that the other one wants to do, and not argue for something different instead. Then the next time when there’s something up, they switch sides and the one , who got their way before agrees to go along with whatever the other one wants to do .This taking turns in decision making , establishes a “ dominance equality “of sorts . Of course I don’t mean unreasonable or demeaning demands ,,but both parties can feel their way to a more fair balance of power and respect in their relationship.

Then I think that if both parties happen to share a common spiritual affinity, that that can be very helpful especially when difficulty arises , it’s then a place to retreat to in trying to up level the situation , a higher perceptive to see the situation from.

Finally it helps to develop patience, and not to take everything so personally, understand that some of the frustrations the other party is exhibiting doesn’t actually have to do with you . It’s their very own problem.

Attisha a famous Tibetan saint, was asked this question and his answer was.” Husband and wife will soon be dead, so while still alive, they should be more kind to each other.

The Tibet House had been founded in 1986 by the Thurmans, Philip Glass, and Richard Gere, at the behest of the Dalai Lama. From 2001 you’ve been the Managing Director of the Tibet House-owned Menla Mountain Retreat. You are also psychotherapist. What kind of need do people expect to get from you, from Menla Mountain Retreat and do the everyday problems changed from past decades? What kind of worries do people have nowadays?

Since my husband was very buzzy with teaching at university and writing books, I stepped in as I had the time after raising four children, to help establish first Tibet House and the fifteen years latter , Menla , Retreat and Spa ...although trained as physiotherapist, this had a lot more to do with management, and creating programs and all the many things needed in running an cultural center , Tibet House, and a Retreat Center, Menla.

Read more: Before and after photos of Sophie Shevardnadze

There are so many really difficult and painful situations in the world, that people and communities find then self in, as well as the threat to the animal world and the planets environment, so much worse each decade. It’s helpful to choose to spend ones creative energy on one or just a few of these problems, not to be overwhelmed. It feels really good to be dedicated and to be able to spend ones time in these pursuits is actually a blessing .the reward is in doing, not necessarily in the results which can be frustrating. Knowing that you try your best is sufficient.

This Question is about you amazing family. In your family noble beauty is transmitted from generation to generation. Uma was named after a Hindu goddess and inherited a refined grace from her ancestors. She is Goddess. In Tbilisi, Georgia Uma is the most beloved actress form the whole Hollywood. Her personality, beauty, talent is adorable for us. Please tell us about Uma, in one of her interviews she said that she is half Swedish and she is proud of this. Tell us about her childhood, what kind of child was she? And which movie you and Robert love most of all from her career?

So yes, I’m a Swedish as well as a USA citizen, being raised in Sweden, I grew up with those socialist democratic values, amongst them the equality of men and women .so I guess I passed these on to Uma and her three brothers.

Uma was a most beautiful baby, the day she was born. At an early age she was one of those that seem to know their destiny, so it was no surprise to me she wanted to leave boarding school and go to NYC in pursuit of a modeling and movie carrier. I decided to help her.

Read more: Jennifer Lopez in David Koma’s thigh-high dress

She is also a very kind, compassionate and generous person ,,I think she loves her children the most , a wonderful mother... being a mother has brought a lot of joy in her life . I like all her movies as she’s a talented actress, and now we are so thrilled, that her 20 years old daughter, Maya Ray Hawke Thurman is also having early success in that field , she will appear in the spring as a cast member in the word wild Netflix, “ Stranger Things “,look for her there.

When we get together as a family we’re just like everyone else, we don’t talk much about
Fame and fortune, we watch movies and play games ,,( everyone likes to win ) and Uma is also a great cook and we have a wonderful time together .

I send the best wishes to all Uma fans in Georgia and wish you all a most happy Christmas holiday.

Main photo courtesy: cinebumusa.blogspot.com
Other Stories
Teaching process suspended in 17 schools due to heavy snowfall in Adjara
Due to heavy snowfall, classes have been suspended in 17 schools of the mountainous villages of Adjara region due to heavy snow. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture says that pupils could not arrive at schools.
Transparency International: Georgia ranks top in CPI in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region
Georgia has been assigned a score of 56 and shares 44th place with Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, and Latvia
Stray dog helps children cross the road in Batumi, Georgia
ABC News has published a video recorded in Batumi that shows how a stray dog helps kids to cross the road.
What makes Georgian fashion distinctive?
Georgian fashion and designers is becoming more and more recognizable, but what makes them unique?
NDI: Majority of Georgians support EU, NATO membership
Recent poll results released by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia revealed that the majority of respondents approve of the Government’s goal for Georgia to become a member of the European Union (EU) and NATO.
NDI: Majority of Georgians say no political party is “closest to them”
The U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) has today released the results of its public opinion survey. According to the survey, majority of the respondents say “no political party” is “closest to them”.
Human Rights Watch: Impunity for abuse by law enforcement officials remaines a persistent problem in Georgia
Impunity for abuse by law enforcement officials remained a persistent problem, - reads the Human Rights Watch Report 2020.
HRW 2020 report: media landscape shaken, labour law still not sufficiently regulated in Georgia
Human Rights Watch has published its 2020 report. The report includes information about media, judicial and political environment in Georgia.
British Ambassador congratulates Georgian people on Kalanda
British Ambassador to Georgia Justin McKenzie Smith congratulates Georgian people on Kalanda - Old style New Year.
Civil Aviation Agency calls on airlines registered in Georgia to refrain from using the airspace of Iran and Iraq
Georgia's Civil Aviation Agency calls on airlines registered in Georgia to refrain from using the airspace of Iran and Iraq
Georgia celebrates orthodox Christmas
Christmas in Georgia and in the Orthodox Christian countries is celebrated on the 7th of January. Part of the celebration is traditional Alilo March.
Mayor Kakha Kaladze switches on Christmas Tree in Tbilisi
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze opened main Christmas tree in Tbilisi on the 25th of December. The tree was made in Milan and costs 304 848 Euros.
Pope Francis invites Georgian Patriarch Ilia II to Vatican
Pope Francis has sent a letter to Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II and commemorated the Patriarch's hospitality during his visit to Georgia three years ago.
Death of 15 years old Luka Siradze sparks controversies in Georgia
Opposition parties have issued a joint statement expressing their condolences over the death of 15 years old Luka Siradze.
Premiere of the film “And then we danced” to be held amid possible unrest
The premiere of the 2019 Swedish-Georgian drama film - And Then We Danced, directed by Levan Akin, is scheduled to be held at Tbilisi and Batumi cinemas today.
Explosion after Possible gas leak in Tbilisi
A natural gas leak is the suspected cause of an explosion that destroyed the part of a multi-storey residential building on Guramishvili Avenue in Tbilisi.
Exclusive interview with Gail Elliott
The name of Gail Elliott is known to anyone. She was among supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Claudia Schiffer in the 1990s.
Mountaineer and pioneer: Nick Erkomaishvili
In 1989 Nick Erkomaishvili and some friends agreed to guide a group of Swiss climbers to Mount Kazbek. This encounter led them to become the first Georgian tour operators. And they founded the one and only Georgian Mountain Guide School.
Police in Tbilisi detain 11 for child pornography
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has arrested 11 members of a criminal group on the charges of child trafficking and pornography.
“She had schizophrenia” – Mother of the perpetrator of the 3-year-old boy speaks out
On the 27th of August in Tbilisi an unknown woman suddenly approached to a three-year-old boy, walking with his parents and sister, and harmed his face with sharp instrument and escaped.
Dead woman found in Tbilisi
In Tbilisi suburb called Temka dead woman is found. According to unofficial information, the fire brigade was called by the neighbors.
Nik West and Niko Kandelaki publish their wedding video
Famous American singer Nik West and Georgian Niko Kandelaki got married on the 11th of May but have only just published pictures and video about their wedding.
16-year-old dies due to reanimobile technical problems
16-year-old boy, Luka Popkhadze, whose health condition worsened due to reanimobile ambulance vehicle technical problems, has died. He was in a coma for 41 days.
Crashes and explosions heard on the Rustaveli Avenue
Crashes and explosions heard on the Rustaveli Avenue,
3 year old child, stabbed by passer-by in Tbilisi, to be discharged from clinic today
The 3 years old child, who was stabbed by a passer-by, will be discharged from Zhvania Clinic today,
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
World famous British singer Jessie J has decided to wear clothes made by Anouki Areshidze, Georgian designer and wife of the mayor of Tbilisi.
Bassiani, one of the most popular underground clubs not only in Georgia but throughout Europe as well, has opened today
An amazing video made in Georgia by tourists from the Philippines have gone viral on the internet.
Over the recent two days May 12-13 Tbilisi city saw a peaceful protest rally in the center of the city.
Hundreds of people took to the main street Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi to protest the raid in Tbilisi’s popular night clubs.
Two bear cubs listed as endangered on the red list were handed over to Tbilisi Zoo,
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze and Deputy Tbilisi Mayor Ms. Sophio Khuntsaria have gifted a food stand
Pamela Anderson, famous Canadian American actress and model has appeared in the chic sunglasses by internationally acclaimed Georgian designer George Keburia.
A ski lift accident in Georgia’s eastern Gudauri resort,in particular at Sadzele 5 lift, has left 8 people with injuries.
The ski lift in Gudauri winter resort in Georgia has broke down in the aftermath of which several people have been injured.
GEL Exchange
January 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31