INTERVIEW – Nathan, an 18-year-old student from Nantes, took part in the second season of the M6 novel program to physically meet his Australian friend for the first time.
A year ago, M6 launched “And if we meet?”, a French creation produced by Studio 89 where people who maintain long-distance relationships through social networks, forums or dating applications meet physically for the first time. “It is a moment full of extremely strong emotions”explained the show’s producer, Marc de Suzzoni. “In the virtual it is easy to lie. We can hide who we really are. The reality of this first meeting makes it possible to have very different stories. Each meeting is organized in the romantic setting of the beautiful castle of Ermenonville in the Oise.
ALSO READ – “What if we meet?”: what you need to know about the M6 romance show
On April 25, M6 broadcast the meeting that Nathan had organized with his Australian friend Imogen. The two students, aged 18 and 19 respectively, had a friendly relationship through social networks for three years before they first discovered each other in front of the cameras of “And if we met?” last February. A program heavily criticized by the viewers in which the young man from Nantes passed for a clumsy with a very inelegant humor and his friend for the handsome idiot on duty. After contacting Nathan, he recontextualized this meeting and the exchanges of the two protagonists.
LE FIGARO. – How did you get to “What if we meet?” on M6?
NATHAN. – I got in without knowing anything about the show, I had never watched it. I had never done TV before and I only signed up with good intentions when I discovered the casting announcement. Today’s result is that the broadcast was harmful to me. Everything went very quickly, I took part in the shooting ten days after my registration. In the meantime I had Imogen on the phone, she had to be able to free herself and come from Sweden where she studies.
The question we ask ourselves while watching this program is whether you really never met Imogen before the filming?
For the other candidates I don’t know, but for us it was really the first time, our meeting was completely sincere. The only moment during the shoot that was orchestrated by the production was when I asked him to speak French and that was the awkward moment when we joined. It took us out of the context of our meeting and it was unfortunately kept during the editing. Because everything went really well, we had a really nice time together, I gave him a present, a very cute little green bracelet, we had a lot of laughs and the jokes I could make were taken out of context.
Your comments caused controversy when you asked Imogen to repeat phrases in French such as “I would like to pick you up” or “Wouldn’t you like to be my math homework so I can finish you off on my desk tonight?”†
They kept these sentences only in French and Imogen’s destabilized responses in English, as if I was playing her in a language she didn’t understand. She passed for an idiot when in reality I systematically translated my words to her and we laughed at it together for being complicit in this humor (contacted, Imogen confirmed to us that she never felt any shame during this sequence which she described as edited by production, Editor’s Note). The montage is terrible and behind it people on social networks are making despicable comments about us.
Did Imogen know where she got into this program?
Not more than me, it was the opportunity to meet while they were paid and reimbursed (85 euros the day of admission, please note). The production paid for everything: Imogen’s return trip from Sweden to Paris and hotel stays. Everything was arranged very quickly. If we had taken more time to think, I don’t think she would have accepted it. The “bad buzz” it caused after it aired meant it wasn’t necessarily a good experience for both of us in the end. I’m glad I got the chance to tell you what really happened because the image people have of me after seeing the show is very negative.
Your meeting ends in a bedroom where you end up kissing, was that premeditated?
Not at all, we were there for a friendly meeting with no intention of going further and things got heated. We know each other really well, we have been talking daily for three years, we have the same delusions and this meeting was exciting for us. We only talked about it for a week and we were just happy to finally see each other again. It wasn’t shown in the montage, but it was Imogen who really took the first step by telling me that I was the only man she could have a serious relationship with. It was after that that our discussion turned into temptation.
How did you meet him three years ago?
At the time, I was a student in the United States and as part of an international group founded by our respective schools, we chat via SnapChat and Discord. I was the little French and she, the beautiful Australian, I had fun flirting with her and over time we became very good friends. It was by remembering that time I flirted with her that I gave her sentences that seemed awful on the show, but it was an accomplice humor, we understood each other.
What happened after the shooting?
During our weekend in Paris we were a bit wary, we went out at night, we slept little… We lived like a couple our age. I had planned to approach her for the rest of my business school studies, but we soon realized it wouldn’t work. Everyone now goes their separate ways: she has a boyfriend, I have a girlfriend and we talk a lot less since this experience. We’re still on good terms, but there’s nothing more sentimental between us.
Looking back, do you regret participating in “What If We Met?” with Imogen?
No, because I had a unique experience and I had a lot of fun. I just find the state of affairs and the derogatory comments it has caused a shame. In the future, I will think twice before agreeing to participate in the shooting of a television program.
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