Dayanara Torres may be known all over the world for being a former Miss Universe, but it's been the role of mother that she is the most proud of. Torres, who shares sons Cristian and Ryan with ex-husband Marc Anthony, was the season five winner of Univision's Mira Quien Baila--- the series where she's currently holding court as a judge.
We caught up with the stunning single mom to chat about her partnership with Axe, how two teenage boys keep her busy, and why she donated her winnings from the dancing competition to a charity in her native Puerto Rico.
Congrats on your collaboration with Axe. How did the collaboration come about?
When the conversations started, and the brand reached out to me, they asked if I knew about the products. The funny thing is that AXE are the products that my kids actually use, so it was a perfect partnership from the start because it was with a brand we really believe in.
You have two active teenagers in the house. How tough has it been for you to adjust to that?
It’s been a process. I think I keep learning every day. Kids don’t come with a manual, especially when you are a single mom. They teach me something new every day.
Maybe that’s why we have such different dynamic at home. Our relationship is pretty much like a friendship, although I have rules and I am also a tough mom. At the end of the day, we certainly have a partnership. We laugh a lot.
It was so different when they were young, they're cute and little--- a totally different stage. Then things start to change and they become teenagers and all the sudden there is more listening involved, as well as different grooming habits. Out of nowhere there is shaving and deodorant and perfume as part of the daily equation. It's funny how my oldest is a little more reserved, but my younger one is definitely flashier. He loves fashion and he is the one who owns almost each and every single product AXE makes. They are both big fans of the brand but the little one is certainly a little extra.
You're a busy mom, what are your secrets to finding balance between work, home, and your personal life?
It’s definitely a balance. You just have to make time for everything. Without a question my biggest role is to be a mom and that comes first and foremost. That’s why I pretty much put my career aside for so many years to take care of my boys. I wanted them to always feel that if there was an issue, I was always there for them. Little by little they started growing up and now that they are older, I have been able to do a few things.
In the past, I would only accept work that would not take me away from them. For example, I did a couple of movies and a TV show but they were all shot in the summer. I had to decline many projects because I would not just leave them. I only trust my mom with my boys, soo, summers were the perfect time for me to work.
Last year I had my biggest comeback on Mira Quien Baila. My kids gave me the ok to “go ahead” and “do it.” I think they wanted me to feel proud about myself and happy and I don’t think they have ever seen me shine that way before, so it was amazing for them too.
It's definitely challenging to find balance while juggling it all. They travel with me when possible, mainly during summer, Christmas and spring breaks.
Speaking of the Univision dancing competition, we noticed you donated your winnings to the St. George Children's Hospital in Puerto Rico. Tell us about the charity and why that was important to you?
That was one of the reasons why I did the show, I was able to get this check and give it to a foundation that I love and have worked with for many, many years.
I love it because though they mainly take care of kids with cancer, they also treat other illnesses too. They take care of the kids and their family at no cost to them and to see so many people happy there, though these families are going through so much--- it’s amazing to me. Sometimes I just randomly show up and they are just always genuinely happy, and not just because there is a special event happening.
When my older son Christian was four months old, they found what looked to be a little cyst in his brain. They did so many different tests, it took about 10 days to finally get answers. The wait was the worst time of my life. They did everything they could do, and it ended up being nothing. I think my gratitude for that moment is the reason why I keep doing everything I can possible do for children.
Do you have tips for parents about how to have a better relationship with their teens? It can be a very tough time!
Especially when they are teenagers, listening is the most important thing. I know that life gets crazy and we are often doing seven different things at the same time, but sometimes I find myself consumed by just being in the moment.
There was a time that I was making sure to avoid all electronic devices for a period of time during the day, unless absolutely necessary. Family time is sacred, it’s real and you have to be present, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally to connect.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.