Wife of a handball trainer, model, caring mother, book author.. and still so easy going: Karina Fog
AP: Karina, I am a big fan of attractive, young, charismatic and successful women and it just seems that you are all that in one person. How do you do it? With two kids and an ex professional athlete?
KF: Well first I would like to say thanks for the very sweet words. I’m flattered! I don’t really have a clear answer for everybody, but for me I have just learned as I got older to relax, and don’t really care so much about what everybody thinks of me. When I was “young” and in my early and middle twenties I cared too much about such things. I have learned with my age not to think so much about that, and just do what I feel like. That’s the good thing about getting older, you get more confident with yourself. Many women of today are just too nice and concerned about their behavior/reputation and afraid to stand out. I’m not perfect at all, and I’m very aware of that, and not afraid to admit it. So for me it felt like my own personal success came, as soon as I relaxed. Just do it! As Nike says!:-)
AP: Let’s start at the very beginning – how did you step into the world of sports? How did you meet your husband and what were you doing before you started living that kind of life?
KF:Wow… that’s many years ago and we have to go all the way back to 1999. So now I feel really old! My life got literally turned upside down. I traveled the world as a model and lived in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Milano, Istanbul, Barcelona and Hamburg. It was a very busy lifestyle but I liked all the challenges and the never-ending changes. I had actually signed with an agency in Miami, and was looking forward to go over there for a long time. But on a weekend out in Copenhagen together with my friends, I saw Ian standing at a bar. He caught my eyes right away. But he never came and said hello to me. So at the end I went over to him and asked if he would like to join me in the bar for a drink, and he accepted my invitation, and the rest is history. I have never been afraid to go after something I want. “If you want it go get it” and I got him. Five weeks later I moved all my stuff from Copenhagen to Ian’s apartment in Gummersbach. That’s pretty crazy when I think back but also typical me. It was a huge change. In ‘97 I was at the hottest club in Tokyo partying next to Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and the rest of the Chicago Bulls, and two years later I sat at Bit Boulevard (a pub in GM) singing German schlager songs. Each with its own charm. But the first year I didn’t care at all, because we were in love, and we only left the bedroom when it was absolutely necessary ;). Later on when I needed something else than just looking at Ian the whole day, I took an education as an interior decorator, so I also had my own life next to Ian’s. Ian is actually also my first real boyfriend, which is really rare for a girl born and raised in Copenhagen.
AP: You are now, call it “retired wife of a professional handball player” and in all this years I’m sure you experienced all the positive and negative sides of this lifestyle. What did you like the most and what did you hate? What have changed for you?
KF: Yes I’m retired so to speak, but everything in our life today is still concerning around handball. Today Ian is a trainer for the Swedish team OV Helsingborg, and that’s also on a very professional level with training every day and games Wednesdays and in the weekends. Beyond that he also work as an agent. So besides the children and me he has around 10 players who he daily keeps an eye on. I call them our extra kids. What I liked and hated the most of the professional handball lifestyle, was that there is a lot of free time, but no freedom. You have a lot of time together but you can never do something impulsive, like taking the car and drive to Paris. Your man is always tied up with training. And I love being impulsive.
AP: What would be your tips for all girlfriends and wives of professional athletes?
KF: Never forget yourself and what you stand for as a person. Don’t live your husbands/boyfriends life do only support it. Keep it real and remember what you like to do for yourself, and your own development. Don’t become a shadow of the girl you used to be, before entering his world. Remember whom he felt in love with.
AP: Partners of professional athletes are often asked and involved in speeches about a sport lifestyle, about guys and matches and about all this things that we are truly not involved or we don’t know that much about at all. If I am right you tried to do something different, you wrote a book about girlfriends and wives of professional athlete in Denmark, called “Kvinden I Skyggen”. What was the idea behind that project?
KF:“The woman in the shadow” was a natural project for me. I love to write and have worked as a freelance writer for the last five years, where I have mainly written about interior. So to write a book was for me the next step of my development. And today it’s a big plus to have a published book at my CV. But I also learned during my 10 interesting conversations with the women in the book, that my working future is not only in the world of writing. So I have decided to apply to the university next year, and study psychology with specializing in communication.
AP: Let’s stay a little bit more with your book. I am really interested if you have gotten any reactions of the press and the media and if yes – what did they think about the book?
KF: The media found the book very interesting. Maybe because nobody had never written about “the person behind”. But a funny subject is that, the women in the book actually talks about their men’s carrier and what a huge effort they have put into their sport. So it’s not just a book for the female audience, but also very interesting reading for the men who are interested in sport as well.
AP: And since the book is about girlfriends and wives of professional athletes I am interested to know what was a thing, almost every women mentioned in the book? What is the main problem for the wives of professional athletes, whether they are together with a football player, handball player or a golf professional and shot putter?
KF: That they have to move around all the time. They don’t really get to settle down, before they have to move again. But the funny thing is that this lifestyle has never been a problem for me. I love to discover new places and meeting new people. Maybe because of my past, where I also traveled all the time. Today I still hope that we’ll move out again one day. I love the south, and I’m definitely not made to life in the cold north.
AP:You are a young mommy of two princesses, how old are they? What are they like? If you have to describe each in one adjective what would it be?
KF: Yes I was pretty young when I had my children. Isabella is my firstborn and she is 7 years old. Sophia came 15 months later and she was actually not planned, she just happened! I remember sitting together with Emmanuelle Narcisse after a game in Gummersbach. I had a 5-month-old baby in my arms, and I told her I was pregnant again. She just looked at me with a shocked expression, and the only thing I could think was FUCK! Indeed the first year was hard, but then it became very fun. They are pseudo twins today and very close. Describe them in one adjective well…
Isabella = Mild
Sophia = Wild
AP: Let’s touch a sensitive point of a stereotype about successful woman being a mum. Is it possible? How you balance your family life and business? Why you think you are a good mum?
KF:There are both positive and negative sides of getting children late or early in life. I was married when I was 21, pregnant when I was 24, mom at 25 and mom again at 26. It’s not normal behavior for a Danish girl at all! But today I’m 32 years old, and I have two girls aged 6 and 7. Many of my friends at same age have babies, and stocked the whole day in their homes. But my thirties are very free, and I love it. I get calls on my cell phone where my girls ask if they can sleep over at their friend’s houses, so I have al ready started to let go a bit and getting used to days without children. Then I can focus on my work and school. I believe in a free upbringing. Why I am a good mum? Hmmm… difficult to answer. I think all parents would always have a slightly bad conscience, we always think we could do better. But that’s probably a manufacture we have developed. So I would leave that question up to other to judge. But I’m not that kind of mum who stands in the kitchen the whole day cooking and baking. And while the bread is in the oven we take a long walk on the beach collecting stones. It happens but not quite often. Instead they know exactly what to order at our favorite café because we go there very often to talk and hang out, and they can sing along at Kanye West or Black Eyed Peas songs because we love to dance to that kind of music. But the most important thing parents can give their children is love, no matter if you are rich or poor, or how you choose to be a parent.
AP: I started the interview with compliments and I will continue it that way. They say thirties are new twenties and it seems that women in their thirties know much more how to enjoy life, how to look sexy and happy. Is that a reason why you appear on the cover of a Danish woman magazine called “Q”? What is a real woman all about?
KF:The magazine “Q” was just a job. I still work as a model from time to time. But true I do love the thirties and all the benefits. I personally think that some of the most beautiful woman in the world is in the thirties and forties such as Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Princess Rania of Jordan and Helena Christensen. They have an inner peace, and that’s very appealing.
AP: And what do you do at the age of 32 to stay in shape, so you can still work as a model?
KF: For the last couple of years I have been very active. When I was 18 I could live of Mc Donald’s, you couldn’t see it on my body. But unfortunately today when I have eaten a Snickers, I can just place it right on my tummy! I run almost every day but not many kilometers. Instead I run with a very high intensity, and 2-3 times a week I run “Kielerlaufen” (interval training system from THW Kiel). Ian finds it extremely amusing when I’m sprinting between the lampposts on our street, but he doesn’t laugh so much when he sees what it does to my bud and back thighs. It’s very effective and recommendable! I’m not extreme and I don’t deny myself anything, but I’m also aware if I have been out drinking alcohol the whole night, you can be sure to see me the next day in the woods running of the calories and sweating out the alcohol. I like to be in a good shape and have some kind of muscles.
AP: So have you ever considered running as a professional?
KF: When I was around 13-14 years old the athlete club Sparta here in Copenhagen were interested in me. They told me I had a chance to be a very good athlete. But the amount of time you have to use to be a professional is enormous. And even then you will maybe never qualify for The Olympics. I couldn’t see myself living on a strictly diet and train hard every day to become a professional athlete in track and field. So instead I became a model. To win medals has never been a goal for me, I just have to be satisfied with my own goals and feel that I’m good. You get addicted of being fit!
AP: From you answers we can see that you know a lot about sport lifestyle and that other girls can learn from you. I would like to end our conversation with one simple question. What was your motto all this years?
KF: Well that’s over the last 12 years. It’s a very long time, and I have experienced a lot of different things. But I have always tried to be honest to myself. So in that case I would have to quote Alanis Morissette:
“I’m a bitch I’m a lover. I’m a child I’m a mother. I’m a sinner I’m a saint. I do not feel ashamed. I’m your hell I’m your dream. I’m nothin’ in between…”
AP:Thank you so much for your time to talk with us.