Toñita Perea y Monsuwé’s First Dates experience

Toñita Perea y Monsuwé, student recruiter at FASoS, is a natural on camera. She made her debut on Dutch television in the early ‘90s on the game show ‘Denktank’. After that, Toñita appeared in several other Dutch game shows, such as ‘Rad van Fortuin’, ‘de goed geld show’, ‘Miljoenenjacht’ and ‘1 tegen 100’.

But Toñita is best known for her appearance on the dating show First Dates – an appearance that went viral on social media.

“In 2018, I participated in First Dates, a dating show in which you go on a blind date. It always looked so nice on TV that I decided to take a shot. From my experience with other TV shows, I know that a lot of what the viewer gets to see at home is staged. While First Dates on TV always looks like couples go on dinner dates in a nice restaurant, the reality is less fancy. The nice restaurant is in fact staged in a sort of transit warehouse. I had to be on set at 8.45 in the morning and my three-course ‘dinner’ date would start at 10 in the morning. Including a glass of wine.”

Toñita asked for a blind date with a tall, sporty guy with nice teeth. But what she received was quite the opposite: a short man, whom she could smell from a distance. “From the minute I saw Richard, I knew that we weren’t a match. When he opened his mouth, I was even more sure that this wouldn’t lead to anything,” Toñita tells. I think that everyone who saw the episode will agree with me that Toñita’s date made some very strange remarks. And that Toñita must be praised for how calm and polite she stayed.

“Production of course chooses what is shown on TV. And it really could have gone two ways. Either I would be shown as the horrible person who was unkind to my date, or Richard would be shown as a creep,” Toñita explained. And the latter happened. “Richard was very open about his personal life. About his problems with alcoholism, about his ex wife. And he was very blunt in telling what he looked for in a woman (spoiler: he was not interested in a woman’s personality). At one point, I told him to just stop talking because he was making a fool of himself. And we knew that everything that we said could be broadcast, because we signed a contract which stated that the show could use everything we said or did. We were constantly wired and there were cameras everywhere, so we knew that our every step was recorded. I think I just got ‘lucky’ that they didn’t broadcast my snarky remarks to Richard.”

Toñita says that the entire experience was terribly awkward, but she can laugh about it now. When I ask her if she would ever participate in a dating show again, she chuckles and says “I think I’m too traumatised now.”

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