Sara in Westminster is 31-40 and is magazine vendor.
Sara is a Big Issue vendor from Spain, where she was a ventriloquist performer. Since moving to London she has seen several misfortunes including a dependency on heroin and involvement in abusive relationships. Now she has a positive outlook on life and is keen to establish her own career, home and happiness.
Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? Seeing Big Ben. I was shocked because it was so small and shitty. Nothing like what I imagined. In Spain on postcards you get the idea it's a huge tower, and then I come here and see this, you know.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? My freedom is the only thing I really miss when I'm away. 100%
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? I like south London. North London is busy and crowded and the south is more calm. Brockley has nice markets, real English life is lived there. People with families and dogs. A settled-down life. I'm gonna be 35 soon, you know!
- What's your favourite building? Let me think. More than buildings I have a favourite location. Camden Town. I worked there for almost 10 years in catering, restaurants and bars. I love the atmosphere there. Friendly shops, waterways, it's beautiful.
- What's your ideal day out in London? I'm not really into museums. For me, I like experiences and things that people will remember. I'd go to Camden Town and Hyde park. You don't get squirrels in Spain and whenever friends of mine visit from Spain they go crazy for the squirrels. Then a proper English pub. I'm not a big drinker but just something to get in the mood. That's my ideal day out.
- What's your ideal night out in London? I like the gay bars in Soho. You can have fun with gay people.
- What's your most hated building? I don't know.
- What's the best view in London? From a bridge like London Bridge or Waterloo bridge and you can really see along the river. Also I went on the London Eye once. That was special.
- What's your favourite open space? Hampstead Heath is surrounded by the most beautiful houses in London. I like the openness, you can really hide there. There's a lot of different people there and the views are amazing by the lake.
- What's your favourite bar, pub or restaurant? Spanish people really only want to eat Spanish food when they're here so I'd take them to Barrafina in Soho. Amazing fresh fish.
- What's the most interesting shop? It's been a long time since I went but Waitrose is great. I love Waitrose. Great quality and they always have good Spanish food. Obviously now my life is different but if I had the money I would go back to Waitrose. For clothes, I love Camden. I've been really trendy in the past and Camden was the place for me.
- What's been your most memorable night out in London? Heaven near Charing Cross on Mondays was fun. There's a few clubs I've been to in the past and had a great time.
- How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? As a Big Issue vendor, it has happened a few times that I have been told that I don't need to work certain days. I said to myself: "You know what? It doesn't matter." When I'm at my pitch, people want to see me. I always make sure I have a few magazines with me and I'll go along anyway. I won't sell them but I just want to be there in my spot. It makes me and the people who say hello to me happy.
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? With my friends we went to Camden and hung out and went to the cool clothes shops. When my family visited they wanted to go to the museums which to be honest, I have to force myself to go to.
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? At Christmas I missed my flight home to Spain, it was awful. I arrived at the airport at 11 in the morning there was huge queue of 7000 people. It took 7 hours to get checked in and once I was through security the flight was cancelled because of bad weather. Everyone was devastated. I could have gone home and then I couldn't.
- What's your personal London landmark? My pitch here on the Strand is really important to me.
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? I prefer people that I see on a daily basis. I enjoy documentary more than fiction. In this area you can see all different kinds of people. I like seeing old men on bicycles. There's a homeless guy who carries 6 kilos of plastic bags around with him. Tourists even take photos of him
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? I love documentary. My best quality is that I'm a comedian so I'm always making my own stories about what I see in London
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? In the future, I can't wait to get back on my feet.
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? I don't really have one.