Twenty years ago Laura Corradini (Mar de Plata, 46 years old) stopped being the applied girl who began to earn a living singing at the Casino de Mallorca to become a star of the song and a regular character in gossip magazines . Not so long ago, however, that Chenoa, as he is artistically called, managed to take off his name once and for all from that of David Bisbal. Unexpected television animal, incorrigible optimist and accidental feminist, after a few seasons as a proven presenter, now she tries her luck as a contestant alongside people as diverse as James Rhodes, Esperanza Aguirre or Esty Quesada (I am a pringada) in Celebrity Bake Off the reality gastronomic restaurant on Amazon Prime that has served as therapy: “I’ve had a few crying girls on the set.”
Question. As a good Argentine, did they take you to psychotherapy as a child?
Answer. As good Argentines, in my family we have always been a constant chatter. I started therapy a little later but I have always said that mental hygiene is very important and to go to a psychologist you do not have to expect that you are going to be very bad. Sometimes you go because you don’t understand the things you do or you keep your true motives in your subconscious, believing that you know them perfectly. It serves to learn but also to unlearn a few things. When a phenomenon like OT1 happens to you or you have been in your career for twenty years, you have to do a cleaning and I do it.
P. She has been famous for almost the same number of years of her life as she has been anonymous. What did she lose when she stopped being a stranger?
R. Although I had started working at the age of sixteen, had some experience as a singer and believed that I was hardened, fame caught me young. It was a very big challenge for me to endure so many comments, speculation, lies and gossip. I am very proud of how I have passed tests without ever giving up my values. I keep what I have earned.
P. Was 26 years old as mature as she seemed in that first Operación Triunfo?
R. When you work from so young it is obviously because you feel a responsibility and you are not playing at the right age. I skipped adolescence to go straight to adulthood. And now when I see teenagers, I realize that 16 years old is too young to have the burden that I had, but I took it on myself. I myself was the one who said come on, pa’lante and study and work at the same time. That gave me very powerful tools although it also unbalanced me, because I missed the time to go out to the patio to play.
P. And can it be “unripe”?
R. Well that’s exactly what I learned at the psychologist. Once he asked me: “Laura, what do you do for fun?” And I said: “Sing”. And he says to me: “No, no. That’s your job ”. As I was wondering about my hobbies, I realized that I did not know how to have fun. The good thing is that sometimes life gives you the opportunity to live what you did not live, no matter what stage it is. One day I went to Madrid Río, I jumped on a zip line and I said, oysters, this is really fun! [risas]. I look for new opportunities all the time to get excited as a child, such as this television program.
P. I have the feeling that your age, far from making you more conservative, has made you more open-minded …
R. Someone once told me: “You have to find flexibility within your rigidity” and it seemed like a discovery because it made me see that I could not always be so defensive, be so tough. It is not easy to be positive, nor is it easy to be happy. And being positive is not being happy 24 hours a day, huh? It is simply working it.
P. And a person as positive as you, how is your relationship with social networks?
R. I carry my own networks because I love that direct contact with the public and I love the chenoists. At the age of sixteen, I already started to move in an environment where there was a lot of fun, so you learn to defend yourself, you have no other choice. From that place sometimes I even empathize with the one who makes a bad comment because I know that they are making a projection of something of their own that has nothing to do with me in reality. There are trolls, of course there are, but I prefer to take the trouble to answer people who write me beautiful texts. You can choose what you keep.
P. What is the most extravagant thing that happened to you working at the Mallorca casino?
R. Well, for example, when I washed my second-hand fake ponytail with Mimosín and stretched it out there with the ballerina stockings; or when I would mend my own fishnet stockings because they were very expensive and I would put the darning in strategic places that no one could see. I bought a lot of streets, a lot of bars … and that is something that you live and stay in your DNA, even if you later get the most beautiful dressing room in the world, there is no your aunt, there is nothing like a carpet smelling of alcohol.
P. Why do you think the public experienced Amaia and Alfred’s breakup in such a different way than yours with Bisbal?
R. The media have learned a lot and now they are much more careful about what they release for free. Before it was much easier to get wax just because. I also tell you that the Chenoa who came out to that portal in a tracksuit is not the same as the one you are talking to now. It’s like I’m asking you how you’re doing in college. It took me a lot of work to laugh at myself and say to myself: “Poor girl, I’m going to save her.” I went through that at a time when not many female voices were raised, but I suppose there have been, there are and will be many girls in tracksuits crying in a doorway. I’m not the only one.
P. Does the obsession in this country with whether to marry or not seem macho to you?
R. Totally. There will be a part of illusion in people who are very fond of me, but yes, there are many people who think: “Look, he’s finally happy.” Look, no: I have been very happy without getting married and getting married.
P. Does it help to lower the political tension to put such disparate people in a kitchen like the one in Celebrity Bake off?
R. The good thing about being in a kitchen is that you are using ingredients that only have to do with what a good dish is. I entered this program without any prejudice with anyone and that was the most important thing for the environment to be fun and healthy.
P. But there are very complicated people in the cast … Which sensitivity are you closer to, that of Esperanza Aguirre or that of ‘Soy una Pringada’?
R. Of the two. I have always liked those kinds of strong characters that each defend their position. I’m very used to being messed with for that and I respect him a lot. As Esty says: “Each one at its extreme and that’s it.”
P. And in the program, has he gotten more angry than laughed or vice versa?
R. I have gotten very angry because I get very angry with myself. I am a very perfectionist but I am unable to blame anyone for my mistakes. That is something that humanity in general does a lot, throwing balls out, looking to blame for all our ills outside of ourselves, and so it goes …
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.