Written by Standard Issue


Getting to Know You… Jen Offord

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 HIYA! to Jen Offord.

Jen HeadshotName: Jen Offord

Age: 33

Location: London

Official job title: Writer

What was the first thing you wanted to be? I seem to remember wanting to train thoroughbred racehorses at some point, but I think that was fairly short lived.

When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? I wrote a short story when I was 10 which, looking back, was largely ripped off from Anne Fine’s very brilliant Goggle Eyes.

My really awesome school teacher, Mrs Patten, who thought it was an ace story (she might not have realised how plagiarised it was), kept banging on about how I should write more, and it transpired I quite liked writing, so then I wanted to be a writer.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Weeing my pants on my first day of school.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? Do a bit of the ol’ sports, wang on about Beyoncé, look at pictures of cats on Instagram, shout at Question Time.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? Getting off my lazy ass and writing a blog about the Olympics which quite literally changed my life.

What was your favourite day at work? I’m calling this work, because it sort of was… Getting off my bike in Houston, Texas, after cycling more than 2,000 miles across the United States. My arse really, really hurt.

What would you like to erase from your past? Weeing my pants on my first day of school.

What brings you the most joy? Pictures of cats on Instagram and pictures my mates’ kid, Peanut, draws for me. Even the ones with killer lobsters.

What makes you angry? Most of the ‘ists’ (not philanthropists), the casual manner in which our government is systematically dismantling the welfare state, Rupert Murdoch, insipid cover versions on John Lewis adverts.

“I don’t want to bang on about it, but cycling over 2,000 miles across the US on my own was alright.”

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Anne Fine was the first author I really enjoyed reading, as a child, and probably the first one who inspired me to want to write words as awesome as hers.

She wrote a book called Bill’s New Frock which revealed the injustices of being female to my eight-year-old self, simultaneously sparking a lifelong irritation about the lack of pockets in women’s clothes. I plan to pay this irritation forward by reading the book to all children I cross paths with.

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Most days.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? Don’t be a civil servant for 10 years first: it really is a waste of time if you’d rather be a writer.

How do you define success? If you don’t feel sad every day when you get ready for work, you’re probably winning.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Don’t shit where you eat (or nob people who are friends with your friends).

What’s your favourite photograph of yourself? One in which me and my brothers are posing next to a waxwork of Crocodile Dundee at Madam Tussaud’s – basically the definition of zeitgeist. That’s at my mum’s house though, so you can have this one of me holding a baby alligator in New Orleans. He was called Henry.

Jen and HenryWhere did you go on your favourite holiday? Me and some pals went to Center Parcs in France a couple of years ago. We thought a week was too long to stay at Longleat but we really love Center Parcs and wine is really cheap in French supermarkets. Discotheques and hilarity ensued.

Who can’t you live without? My crew. They’re funny bastards.

What can’t you live without? Laughter. *vomits*

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I don’t want to bang on about it, but cycling over 2,000 miles across the US on my own was alright.

Who is your favourite person? Just the one? Well, this is awkward. My brother is a pretty cool dude, even if his opinions about Star Wars are frankly, too strong.

Jen and MillieWho’s your favourite animal? Millie (pictured). She’s a bad-ass Burmese cat. Don’t tell her daughter Mompty, who I also really like, but Millie plays much harder to get.

Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? Beyoncé’s Run the World (Girls), for obvious reasons (apart from my actual running of the world, which I don’t singlehandedly do, for the avoidance of doubt).

What are your favourite three articles at Standard Issue (written by other people)? Hannah Dunleavy’s Donkeys & Elephants column is consistently pant-wettingly funny​ (but I don’t wet my pants any more, just so we’re clear on that); Dotty Winters’ article about banning the word feminist is tremendous; and Taylor Glenn’s piece on obesity.

Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? Who are your four or five favourite people?


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Written by Standard Issue