Othilia Simon enjoys simple pleasures, but she has superhuman ambitions

The French model tells Document about her biggest fear, her greatest adventure, and her high-flying personal heroes

About Face” is a series in which photographer Christian Brylle captures models in their most natural states of being, revealing professional chameleons as their idiosyncratic selves. “These pictures are acts of pure portraiture—capturing the individual’s personality using light and shadow, movement and gesticulation,” Brylle says. “No interference. No distractions.” He sees the photographer’s task as capturing “the moments when the subject’s spirit reveals itself,” transcending the physical and withstanding time.

It’s been ten years since Othilia Simon hit the runway as an exclusive for Yves Saint Laurent in 2010, sparking a whirlwind fashion career that hasn’t let up even in the COVID era. But the supremely unpretentious French model seems to exist perpetually in the eye of the storm. She’s happiest when having a laugh with loved ones, playing a game of Backgammon, or contemplating the architecture of Egypt circa 2700 BC (preferably while getting a foot massage). That’s not to say Simon doesn’t have bold ambitions. While modeling has been a great adventure, she’d give it up in a heartbeat to trade lives with a certain crime-fighting billionaire industrialist superhero. 

Who am I:

Person I would like to switch places with: Iron Man.

Person I admire the most: Nadia Comaneci. So much courage. Read her book!

Events I wish I’d witnessed: The construction of the pyramids. 

My idea of happiness: I’m happiest when laughing and spending time with those I love.

My biggest fear: Loss of control. 

Games I play: I love Backgammon as well as card games.

My greatest adventure: At this point in my life, modeling has been my biggest adventure. It has been full of surprises, and I challenge myself every day.

Something I’d like to change: The amount of pollution and waste we put into our environment.

Things I’ll be remembered by: Too early to say…

One thing I’d like to forget: Nothing so far.

Something I’d like to accomplish: I would love to practice gymnastics again. And perhaps see a whale.  

Things that inspire me: Courageous and honest people.

Questions I can’t answer: ‘Who am I.’

One last favor I’d like to ask: Can you give me a foot massage?..

Who I’d like to be: A more confident speaker.