Anne Philippi meets Ronja von Rönne

©Collage / Julia Zierer

How does it make you feel?

I’ve been nervous for a week, nervous in a special way and the last time I’ve been that nervous, I was at a horrible event in Berlin in a festival hall sponsored by Air Berlin, asking Catherine Deneuve for a lighter. And so she handed it to me, while giving me a weird, pitying look- she was smoking herself. Although it was strictly forbidden. Nonetheless I was flustered about the lighter.

This morning I was nervous in a similar way, because I had avocado toast with Ronja von Rönne, unaware of the healthy snack I was going to have.

Out of the corner of my eye I had noticed Ronja von Rönne on Facebook. With all the fuss about her, the quarrels who she was and why she played with her eyes and lips like that, as well as all these “selfie accusations”. Then in summer, I saw a Youtube video of her attending the Bachmann Prize, and afterwards I understood that all these allegations were in fact ridiculous. She was a titan in a maiden dress and clearly, she already knew what writing is all about. “For me, good writing means that you’re really convinced of yourself, with lots of self-confidence while at the same time being full of complexes. As an author you move back and forth between these two extremes. And as a person as well, which can sometimes be rather tough for your surroundings.”

Ronja is wearing a backpack and welcomes me at the corner of Kollwitzstrasse with a warm hug. The Swabian Café is packed, so we head to this new joint for avocado toast and Ronja sits down to my left. While speaking and answering she looks straight ahead. Ronja is not insecure. She has the aura of Thomas Bernhard, yet as a young girl. And she holds these ideas, that we can talk about, way before we babble about so-called writing. I know Ronja’s ideas from former times. She says “My dream job was being a columnist at Cosmo, also because of the office I was picturing. Or all of the snacks during the meetings.  Also, I saw myself as a lawyer, but only to make a plea. So it was neither about an interest in writing, nor about the law. I was thinking in abstract images, very cinematically. My life should offer material for a movie.”

In my opinion these type of visualizers turn into the greatest authors and that’s just what it’s like with Ronja, who started off at the writer’s university in Hildesheim and today assesses Louis C.K. He plays an important role in her work and yet, it isn’t about reporting on shattered people, but about those people who say a quick hello to the inner turmoils only to turn around again and face the sun. “Glamour is my benchmark. The longing for it. Are you allowed to say that? Yes. You are.” Yes you are allowed to say that, among many other things. “Of course you can become thinner if you like” says Ronja. “Or also smoother” I add.

While having this very healthy toast I didn’t wonder for a split second, whether she is authentic or not, because that, so we decide, is of no importance. And then again, Ronja utters one of these philosophical statements: “I can be authentic, when I’m by myself”. I walked home from Prenzlauer Berg and felt light-hearted. One thing is clear: Ronja von Rönne is really big. Bigger than others, quicker than most people and her heart is visible. Wir kommen is the perfect read on a deserted island as well as the 48-hour flight to get there.

Anne Philippi & Ronja Rönne

Ronja von Rönne was born in Berlin in 1992 and grew up in Bavaria. Until early 2015 she studied in Hildesheim and while writing on her blog Sudelheft, which was founded in 2012. In 2015 she read her Essay „Welt am Sonntag“ at the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Prize in Klagenfurt and started writing for Die Welt, where she published her much discussed article “Warum mich der Feminismus anekelt” (Why feminism disgusts me), gaining considerable attention by the media. In 2016 her debut novel Wir kommen was published by Metrolit Verlag. The plot revolves around a group of four youngsters and paints unadorned picture of the infamous Generation Y.

Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.