Behind the Campaign: Vendor Ruth and Fifi

Vendor Ruth and her chihuahua Fifi have become celebrated figures in the Adelaide community. Ruth had a chat to us about her time with The Big Issue and becoming an illustration for the 25 Years Big campaign.

“I’ve been selling The Big Issue magazine for about six or seven years. I usually sell in Rundle Mall, near James Place.

“I always take my dog Fifi with me, who is one of the reasons why I started selling. Because a dog costs a lot of money, it’s hard to do so on the pension. So someone suggested I start selling The Big Issue. Selling is also an outlet for Fifi, she loves it. During the school holidays there’s lots of kids who want to look at Fifi in the pram and talk, they come up and say the most amusing things. One little boy came up to us, he was about four, he kept looking at her and then he said to me, ‘that’s not really a baby, look at them ears!’”

For our 25 Years Big campaign Ruth is in her signature bright colours, and Fifi in her special Adelaide Crows jumper.

“It doesn’t exactly look like me, it looks like me about 20 years ago! I thought maybe they would draw some wrinkles in! But when my brother saw Fifi in the pram he thought it was terrific and looked exactly like her. When we’re out she looks just like that, sitting up in the pram.

“Every Saturday or Sunday in the wintertime she wears her Crows jumper. She has it on when she’s watching the game too. She also wears a tutu!”

For more than six years Ruth has been supported by her customers and is grateful for their kindness.

“I’d like to thank my customers for a start, not just for buying The Big Issue from me, but from anybody. Anytime anyone buys a magazine they’re helping someone to buy the extra thing they want or save up for Christmas. It means a lot to the people selling it. Vendors put a lot into selling it, standing outside every day and competing with the weather. I want to thank the general public for supporting.”