In this installment of Hip Daddy Spotlight, we sit down with Tor Myhren- the Worldwide Chief Creative Officer and President of one of the hottest global advertising agencies, Grey. Tor was recently ‘cleaning up’ in Cannes and interviewing Courtney Love…but now, we talk Fatherhood with this creative genius:
Tell us about your kids, what’s it like being a father?
I have one daughter, Reika. She’s 3 years old and a handful. In the past six months her personality has really started to blossom and she’s FUNNY. She’s got a rather sophisticated sense of humor for a 3-year-old. Not over the top or wacky, but more subtle and nuanced. It cracks me up. She has worn the same sweater for like four months straight and pretty much won’t wear anything else. We’ve gotta sneak it from her at night and wash it. Her first word was “wan-wan” which is Japanese for “bow-wow” and a kid’s word for “dog.” She loves Radiohead and Lady Gaga, loves to dance and keeps asking us to put her in gymnastics class. She has grown up in the middle of Chelsea, so she is totally immune to noise. It’s amazing how we adapt to our environment.
Talk to us about your parenting style.
I was raised without religion, in public school, in the city with parents who really embraced my creative musings. They never pushed me into anything, and really let me chart my own course. I am doing the same with Reika. I try to give her as much love and support as possible, but when it comes to her interests, I leave it up to her. I will expose her to as many things as I possibly can and see what sticks. When she loves something, I’ll support the hell out of it. We only spoke Japanese to her until recently so she speaks Japanese very well (my wife is from Japan). It’s tough to hold onto that other language (now that she’s in English speaking Montessori) so my wife’s being pretty strict about speaking Japanese in the house.
What’s the one thing you cannot live without as a Dad?
My vice as a dad are the long walks I take around the city with Reika every Saturday morning. We’ll hit parks, bagel shops, playgrounds, fairs, whatever. We get up early when the city is still pretty quiet and still. All year ’round. It’s great.
Any piece of clothing you love for kids or like to wear as a Dad when with kids? Favorite kids brand?
Miki House, a japanese kids fashion brand, is my favorite. It’s a bit pricey, but so smartly designed with buttons and velcro and pockets exactly where they should be. It’s great quality too so it can handle the abuse of Reika’s day. And it’s all very colorful which Reika loves, in contrast to her dad who wears all black, gray and blue.
What’s going on at Grey? Any exciting things on the horizon?
Every single day at Grey is exciting. Every single day is a new challenge and a new adventure. I love my job.
How do you manage the duties of fatherhood with the demands of running one of the great iconic ad agencies, Grey Worldwide?
My worldwide role at Grey takes me all over the globe, and I try to take Reika and my wife Tomoko with me on the long trips. So 3 or 4 times a year, they join me for a week or two at a time on these somewhat exotic adventures. I really believe that even though Reika won’t remember these trips, she is learning invaluable things from them. Every time we return from overseas she has mentally grown and is more interested in her surroundings. Of course there are plenty of trips I do without my family as well. Honestly, as long as they’re not long trips I don’t mind being away for a couple days. It’s sometimes nice to be alone on an airplane with nobody to bother you. It’s the only place left where I can watch a movie or read a book without being bumrushed by colleagues or kids. But coming home after a business trip, and having Reika scream “Papa!” and run up and jump into my arms really is the best feeling in the world.