I was born and raised in Perth – it’s a beautiful city that I am proud to call home. I have three siblings. I love spending time with my family, they bring me a lot of joy. Family holds a special place in my heart, and I love seeing them. I have a soft spot for my three adorable nephews.

I reside in independent living with my tabby cat Lilly. I rescued her from Cat Haven three years ago, and she’s a source of comfort and companionship. She makes my life so joyful.

I used to work at an op shop, but the pay wasn’t great! Working for The Big Issue has changed my life for all the better. I have a team of wonderful carers, and I found out about The Big Issue through them. I’ve had carers since I was five years old. Their support is invaluable, and helps give me a sense of independence.

I love this job so much. It gives me purpose, and I’m much happier now. I used to be depressed a little bit. I just love getting out of the house and meeting new people. One thing that people know me for is my wicked sense of humour. I like banter and sharing jokes with customers.

I have cerebral palsy. It takes me a bit longer to sometimes do things, because my body doesn’t get the message from my brain to do what I want it to. I want people to know that if you can’t understand what I’m saying, please ask me again. Just be patient.

Whenever someone is in need, I like to give back to them. I have a strong passion for helping people in any way I can, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on my community.

I volunteer at my local toy library for two hours every Thursday, and help book the toys in and out. I really enjoy working closely with the children and their parents.

Outside of work, I love playing tenpin bowling. I collected a number of trophies, including for being a good team player. I also like catching up with dear friends, and to indulge in a drink every now and then. And I love a hot curry – I’m someone who proudly embraces the title of spicy food enthusiast!

In 2024, I will be celebrating my 40th birthday, and I am very excited for this milestone. I’m also saving up for a cruise to Melbourne to see my sister.

I don’t want to boast, but since I’ve come on board, I’m one of the very best vendors in Perth! I’m determined to continue doing well at selling The Big Issue, and I’m excited about what the future has in store for me.

Michelle sells The Big Issue at David Jones on Hay St, Perth.

Interview by Mattie Stephens
Photo by Ross Swanborough

First published in Ed#702