How We Met: Lisa Butcher & Dr Linda Papadopoulos
'She keeps trying to find me a date, but... her judgement can be questionable'
Sunday 31 January 2010
Dr Linda Papadopoulos, 37, is a media psychologist and writer who has provided commentary on shows such as 'Big Brother'. In addition to her academic work, her books on popular psychology include 'What Men Say, What Women Hear' and 'The Man Manual'. She lives in west London with her husband and daughter
Lisa and I met a few years ago when we both went into a studio to work on a radio campaign. It was for Fairy Liquid of all things and I remember listening to her trying to answer all these questions about household chores and finding it very funny that she was clearly as undomesticated as I was.
We got chatting between recordings and it was obvious we had lots in common – we're the same age, we both have kids and a similarly weird, inappropriate sense of humour. It sounds corny, but I could tell from the way she behaved that she was genuinely kind, and I think that in society today, kindness is underrated.
We met for coffee not long after, then ended up working together on a pilot TV show that never took off. It was about relationships and was strangely close to reality; I am such a Greek mother – I am constantly trying to set Lisa up with guys. As a shrink who specialises in relationship issues, I should theoretically be able to find her the perfect date, but have I got it wrong. I've even been on double-dates with her where she's texted me under the table to say that she thinks the waiter's cute.
We get together for coffee and to eat, or she'll come over with the girls and I'll make shepherd's pie. We also both love travelling and she's coming to Cyprus with me this summer; she is very fun company.
Lisa has a wonderful ability to live in the moment. She's had a hell of a time [with the deaths of her father and ex-husband], but she has a quiet strength and positivity. I've never seen her be self-pitying.
I'm a bit of a workaholic, so Lisa's laid-back attitude is a nice balance for me. She is much more spiritual than I am. I believe in morality, not miracles. She emails me articles from the internet, but our views just make each other laugh.
I really love that she is so intuitive. I spend quite a lot of time taking care of other people because of my job, so I feel very lucky to have a friend like Lisa who will hear something in my voice, pick up on it and encourage me to talk about what is bothering me. Those are the moments with her I treasure the most.
Lisa Butcher, 37, is a TV presenter and former model who was dubbed the 'face of the nineties' by photographer Norman Parkinson. Her TV work includes 'Britain's Next Top Model' and 'What Not to Wear'. She now designs clothing and jewellery, and lives in west London with her two daughters
The first time I saw Linda, she was sitting in the waiting room at a radio studio. We both went on to talk about cleaning or something and at one point, one of the interviewers started asking misogynistic questions. Linda stepped in straight away to back me up. I was a complete stranger to her but from that moment I thought, "You're my kind of girl." We swapped numbers and we have hung out ever since.
I admire Linda. She has achieved so much and is so bright, but never gives the impression of being intellectually superior. I left school at 15 to become a model, so I've done nothing like the studying that she has, but she never belittles people.
I am very interested in what makes people tick, which is obviously what her job is all about. I'm going to do a counselling course that Lisa helped me find. If I have a problem, I like to get her take on it as a friend, but I never want her to be my shrink.
When people see us, they often get the wrong idea about us. I have the whole tall, blonde model thing, so they assume I must be ditzy, and she also finds that some men belittle her intelligence because of her looks. It's good to have someone who understands that and it has made us both really feisty.
Linda mothers me, which is quite funny. She's got this thing in her head about trying to find me a date, but she has set me up on a few disasters. I once tried to explain to her who my ideal man was by giving the example of a male celebrity. I can't say who – it's too embarrassing – but it turned out she had just worked on a show with him. She was really excited, adamant that he was single and insisted I come to the wrap party to meet him – thank God I did my homework, because he was actually in a long-term relationship. Her judgement can be questionable.
Linda has been trying to get me to take her shopping and do a "what not to wear" on her, but I refuse because she absolutely does not need it. We do go shoe-shopping occasionally and I am always fascinated by how tiny her feet are – she's like a size one or something, like Cinderella.
We're writing shows for TV together at the moment. Listening to her pitch them, I am in awe of her because she can talk so charismatically. But when we meet people about shows, she's very good at making it clear to them that I have a brain too.
I've always found it difficult to make good female friends. I grew up with brothers, I was a tomboy, lots of my friends now are gay men. Linda is an exception. She doesn't believe in past lives, but I do – and I'm sure we knew each other before.
Lisa and Linda will be launching their In and Out Beauty project on 6 March at the Chelsea Club health club and spa (thechelseaclub.com)
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