Written by Standard Issue


Getting to know you… Alice Sanders

If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Say hello to Alice Sanders.

Alice and her friend Nadia: we make all Standard Issue contributors dress up like this from time to time.

Alice and her friend Nadia: we make all Standard Issue contributors dress up like this from time to time.

Name: Alice Sanders

Age: 33

Location: Brockley, south-east London

Official job title: Freelance writer

What was the first thing you wanted to be? Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? I think from about 11 or 12.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? My history teacher telling me he knew when he’d said something foolish because I’d be laughing. It broke my heart because he was a wonderful teacher and I actually kept a log of what he said, called ‘Mr Endersby’s Words of Wisdom’, and handed them out a couple of times a year. I think someone gave them to him when he left.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? I love eating and cooking! I can often be found in the Danish bakery next to my house eating cinnamon buns (Noak Bakehouse: you should totally go there), and sometimes cooking or baking things myself.

I also love watching TV – very highbrow I know – I’m obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race, anything with Gillian Anderson in it, and anything that’s not totally focused on a straight white man’s perspective. Also I do improv, which is basically like a cult.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? My first proper commission was for Vice, and it was the first time I’d pitched to them. I was so surprised I stood up and almost threw my laptop across the room.

What was your favourite day at work? Any day spent writing in my pyjamas is a win for me.

What would you like to erase from your past? Most of my childhood, several of my exes, the year my brother was sick, all my colonoscopies/polypectomies!

What brings you the most joy? Eating.

What makes you angry? Injustice on a big and small scale, dishonesty, people commenting on my physical appearance in a way that implies I should care about what they think about me, misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia, the Tories, low blood sugar, doctors when they lack empathy, uncomfortable shoes and knickers, inconsiderate housemates, being allergic to sunlight, my ex, my parents, Christmas, being undervalued and underpaid, not having enough sex, people bashing into me on the Tube, bad Tube etiquette in general, being ignored, being made to wait for hours only to find somebody has sent me to the wrong clinic, idiocy, bad food.

Everything makes me mad, I’m furious all the time.

“Don’t rely on outside success to value yourself. As RuPaul says, ‘If you can’t love yourself, then how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?'”

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Nadia Kamil because she just told me to write this.

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Yes, the first time I met Stewart Lee who was a childhood hero of mine I went weak at the knees. Romantically I don’t think I ever have, but I haven’t met Gillian Anderson yet.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? If you want to do anything creative, don’t take rejection personally; get used to it, learn from it, then laugh in its face.

Learn to be OK with making mistakes; you can’t make art without making mistakes. Anyone who ridicules you for making mistakes is someone who is full of fear themselves.

Don’t rely on outside success to value yourself. As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, then how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?”

How do you define success? I don’t know. I’ll tell you if I ever get there. But isn’t happiness more important? I mean, I’m not happy either so I can’t define that.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? My friend Josie has given me advice over the years to keep going creatively, all of which has been very useful. My mum says, “You cannot be responsible for your reputation, only your character,” and I like that. It’s kind of a fancy way of saying, “Do the right thing and don’t worry what anyone else thinks.”

Alice laughingWhat’s your favourite photograph of yourself? I rarely smile in photos. I like this photo because I look like I’m genuinely having a good time. I’m at a friend’s wedding and my pal Steve is making me laugh. It was a good evening!

And I like this other photo [see top of piece] because me and my best friend Nadia had a drag party where we dressed in drag and it was the best fun ever.

Where did you go on your favourite holiday? I had a great time travelling round Emilia-Romagna with my friend and we ate the most delicious food and saw the most beautiful churches.

Also I went to LA last year to visit Nadia (see above) and saw a baseball game, went to some improv, saw a bear in Yosemite, and most importantly had incredible brunches every day. Also tacos. Oh the tacos.

Who can’t you live without? There are many people that I love, but nobody I can’t live without.

What can’t you live without? Very strong antihistamines and high factor sun cream (I’m allergic to sunlight).

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Still being here.

Who is your favourite person? Gillian Anderson.

Who’s your favourite animal? I don’t currently have one, though I often think about getting a cat or a dog.

What are your favourite three articles at Standard Issue? I loved Jen Brister’s The Closet I-III, all very touching and funny; I loved Brydie Lee-Kennedy’s piece Being Single Isn’t Like Being Lost. I’ve been single for ages and I think people often think this about me, and women suffer from it in particular. It really articulated something that I’ve felt.

I also loved Deborah Frances White’s piece Me, Myself and Myelin – Why children draw more than we do – a piece that reminds us that we can keep learning and growing. And just do things for fun and not to be good at them!

Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? Would you like a million pounds, what are your bank details?


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Written by Standard Issue