She has arrived before the time, she waits sitting in the booth of a great hotel in Madrid and she seems to be in the home of her whole life. What impresses most about Lidia Torrent is not her facade, imposing in any case, but her overwhelming poise, unusual in a 26-year-old girl. Any viewer of First Dates knows this —those who admit to seeing it, and those who don’t—, Cuatro’s blind dating program where Torrent acts as host-waitress-ally of singles who come “to find love” on time and on. half an ineffable dinner on a set of a Madrid polygon before the gaze between accomplice and astonishment from all over the country. After the welcome from maestro Carlos Sobera, Lidia calms them down, supports them, raises and lowers their fumes during the appointment, if necessary, without losing the smile or the temper of the classics of the environment. Your mother, Elsa Anka, a 90s TV legend, can be proud.
Where does that serenity and poise of centuries come from?
It is not an imposition. That calm goes with me and it shows through. It’s not to say it’s zen dumb all day, but at a time when people are exposed and vulnerable, I think it helps. That, and that I love to hear. Listen to understand, not to respond. I like people, their lives, their feelings, their interests. And I think that shows. It’s hard for me to lose my temper. Only arrogant and intolerant people drive me crazy, I really can’t.
How do you ‘catch’ participants as they walk through the door?
I think I can read people. I tend to err little. I observe the way they walk, how they look, how they speak, how they move. In love, verbal and non-verbal communication are important.
I think at first they told him on the show not to hug them so as not to intimidate them.
Yes. I started doing the program when I was 21 years old, it was very spontaneous and I hugged them like an octopus because it seemed to me that, in that moment when you are so vulnerable, you appreciate it. I like physical contact with people. I see you again, and I hug you. That’s why social distance is fatal, it doesn’t go with me. For me First Dates, apart from my home, has been a master of life.
It seems older than it is.
I am 26 years old, I live in this world, but, yes, I am a little old, come, my friends tell me. Let’s see, I’m not a harsh person, but I am hyperresponsible, savior, caring. My parents separated when I was 12 years old, my mother worked and I had to take care of my little brother, take him to classes, be there for him. I acquired responsibilities that did not correspond to me and that has made me very aware of everything.
His mother, Elsa Anka, was a myth in the 90s, how do they get along?
We have a very special bond. We have grown up together, we have been a family of three, we are a bit of a mirror and reflection of each other, and, although we have our disagreements, we are very complicit. Sometimes we joke that we must have been sisters in another life.
She declares herself a matchmaker outside and inside work. Tell me: what we need is love?
Yes. Love is healing and palliative, we need it, in any way, with whoever, lived in any way, even with oneself. But we all need love … and sex.
How much has ‘First Dates done to normalize diversity?
A lot of. They have given us awards for that. But what excites me is feeling it on the street. Recently, a boy approached me in a bar and told me that, thanks to the fact that his parents watched the program and the naturalness with which it is shown to homosexual couples, he dared to tell them that he was gay. First Dates is proof that love is universal and diverse.
Can you go without being sewn to tattoos?
Well now that you say it, maybe not [ríe]. Do you have any?
Don’t tell me you don’t freak out with any of the participants.
I really like a lot of them. For aesthetics and for ethics. Because of how they are, how they think, how they face life. There are some very peculiar inner worlds out there … and outer ones too.
The inner world always sounds like intestinal flora and fauna.
I am referring to the way of each one of understanding the world, and himself. But I will also buy that for you, because after all, they are going to dinner and that also shows.
How does the courtship of others look from the safety of the barrier?
There is everything, but sometimes we are a bit clumsy. We want to impress the other, we talk too much about ourselves, we do not listen, but not from evil, but from wanting to sell ourselves so well and so quickly that, with nerves, and tension, many times you do not absorb the other. It gives me the feeling that we are not very sensitive when it comes to observing the other, their feelings, their message, in addition to the verbal one. Look, there is a business niche here: learning to flirt properly.
Have you ever blushed with someone else’s embarrassment?
Yes, but above all for attending very intimate confessions made by the participants. I hear them, and the whole audience hears them, but you don’t stop moving. Watching the spark jump is very exciting. We are all chemistry. Perhaps young people are less modest and talk more about sex, but older people know very well what they are going for, and they don’t hide anything. Deep down, love places us all in the same starting square.
Tall, pretty, great guy, great hair. When did you realize that you were attracting attention on the street?
I know what you’re talking about, but do you know what happens? That I take very bad being the center of attention. And it is something that I have been working on for a long time in therapy, because the moment I feel that, I tend: well, I tended to become tiny. I have had to bloom on the inside for me to be able to bloom on the outside. He tended to make myself a lentil. For that reason, the compliment that I can value the most is that I am an interesting person, it is the only one that I presume.
Take out a defect, please.
I am messy, very absent-minded, very impatient and I have flare ears, why do you think my hair is loose and long? The processions go inside.
In confinement, he created a 13-question questionnaire and interviewed celebrities on his Instagram account. Let me copy one of them for you: What is freedom for you?
True freedom is self-love. When you work on self-love, you get rid of many emotional dependencies and, above all, of needing certain things to be well. Freedom is loving you and being able to live with you, in peace and happy.
It gives me that you know well what you are talking about.
I’m working in it.
Lidia Torrent (Barcelona, 26 years old) wanted to be a criminologist. In fact, she studied the first year, but, in the meantime, she started working as a waitress-presenter in ‘First Dates’, where she applies what she learned to ‘penetrate’ and accompany other suitors in the courtship process. He almost never errs in his diagnoses or in his prognoses: « I am a born matchmaker, » he presumes. She herself found love in her program partner, Matías Roure, although they separated and now she is dating former soccer player Jaime Astrain. Daughter of the model and presenter Elsa Anka, Lidia stands out in Carlos Sobera’s space for her capacity for empathy and understanding of others. He does not rule out returning to the classroom or stopping doing it. « I’m still in training, » he admits.