Leventica, Marks and Spencer, Blackpool

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am 25 and I have sold the magazine for many years but I have only sold the magazine in Blackpool for about four months. Before that I was selling in Knaresborough in Yorkshire. I live in Manchester, so the journey to Blackpool is easier but it is expensive on the train. 

Why did you start selling the magazine?
I started selling the magazine because I didn’t have a job. I came to the UK to make a proper life because in Romania it is not a proper life. I am not always sure how much money I am going to make. 

‘I learnt English from selling the magazine. People speak with me’

Tell us about your family.
I have three children who are 11, 10 and five. Two girls and a boy. I was very young when I had my first child. I am not married and the father of my children has left me but it is OK. I have some friends who help me, like a neighbour who can help look after my children when I have to work. It can be hard and I get tired raising my children on my own.

Do you like Blackpool?
Now I have seen bits of Blackpool and it is very nice. I have never been to Blackpool before I started selling there. It is a big place, which can make it difficult to sell the magazine because it is so busy. And I am quite new in Blackpool so people don’t really know me there. It would be good to make some more regular customers.

What do you hope for in the future?
I want to have a proper life in Romania with enough money to survive there and to have my own house with my children. I cannot do that at the moment because I don’t have enough money. In Romania you need a lot of money to live, to pay for a place, to pay for medication, to have a good life for my children. I also hope that my children do well at school and that they are happy and won’t be like me, like I am now. I want them to have different jobs when they grow up. 

What was your childhood like?
I come from a big family and we didn’t have a lot of money. Life was very hard when I was a child. I didn’t go to school. 

How did you learn to speak English so well?
I learnt English from selling the magazine. People speak all the time with me and that is very good. When I arrived from Romania I spoke a little English but it has got better.

What does being Roma mean to you?
I am Roma. This is important to me. It is important to know that there are two different people from Romania. Romanians and Roma people and we have different traditions, such as Roma women wear skirts and not trousers. When my daughter is 16 she can decide if she wants to stay with this tradition or not. 

What makes you happy?
My children. 

What makes you sad?
I am sad because my cousin died recently. He had leukaemia and he was only 17. 

Do you have a message for the people of Blackpool?
The people of Blackpool are such nice people. Please come and say hello to me and speak to me and not pass by like I am invisible. That can be difficult – when people pass by and they don’t even look at you. Please come and buy the magazine from me.

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