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To Americans, Ole Henriksen is the cheerful namesake of a skin care brand and Hollywood spa that’s been a celebrity haunt for over three decades. But to Danes, Henriksen is a successful countryman from the tiny village of Nibe and a lifestyle guru nicknamed “The World’s Happiest Man.” He’s also a TV star, with a top-rated series called “Ole Henriksen’s Hollywood” on Denmark’s TV 2. The first season, which aired last fall, saw Henriksen giving tips to distinguished Danes such as soccer player Stig Tøfting, actor Peter Gantzler and defense minister Søren Gade. In season two, taped in Los Angeles this spring, Danes will watch Henriksen work his magic on average folk. Here, he dishes on the good life.
This story first appeared in the March 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
What business advice do you give your audience?
You always have to have a good sense of money and be smart in your management of money. Spend only what you have and not what you don’t have. Make yourself available and praise people’s work when they do great work. Being a control freak doesn’t get you anywhere.
You’re tabloid fodder in Denmark. Have you had outlandish stories written about you?
I actually had a retraction printed. It was [about] a screaming match with Ellen DeGeneres in my reception area. Ellen just laughed about the whole thing. I have never in my entire career had a fight with a single celebrity client.
You recommend that men do 300 push-ups a day. Why?
Sylvester Stallone, my client in the past, inspired me. I began emulating his techniques. When you’re in a hotel room, you can always do push-ups. You can do them anywhere. For women, it’s not something to put emphasis on, but for us men, it’s important. I’m not exactly the meatiest thing, but I am a feisty little thing.
How has your business changed?
I see myself as a lifestyle guru. I’m not perfect, that is the beauty of it, and I need help like anyone else, but wellness covers the whole spectrum. It isn’t just putting an Ole Henriksen product on your face. It’s feeling good about yourself, liking yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself. Take pride in who you are.
Are you the happiest man in the world?
I’m a very happy and a very grateful person in my daily life. I would never give myself an award for being the happiest, but I will say I am a very happy man. I have a very childlike spirit. Even as a mature man, it keeps me adventurous.