I was born in Melbourne. Mum told me I was born in the hospital in Moonee Ponds. I’ve got two sisters, but they do their own thing. I’m the youngest.

My parents split up. We shifted from one place to the next – I’ve been all over the place. Because I’d been moving around, I ended up going to four schools. I was always behind. I’ve been bullied, ganged up on. I actually wagged a lot, because my friend had this trampoline, or we ended up going for bike rides. In Year 8, I had this teacher called Mrs Barbetta – she actually helped me after school, to finish off my homework. Because she helped me, I got through to Year 9.

Music was my favourite subject. I still do the recorder. I copy on YouTube how they do it. And also, on the keyboard, I play following the key light the Titanic theme song and ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin. I played the guitar and drums a long time ago. And I do the choir in Sunshine through the Salvation Army, singing all different songs – from Calvin Harris to Milli Vanilli.

After school, I helped my sister out cleaning at McDonald’s. The worst thing was cleaning the grease trap. It was so annoying. I did a barista course, and an animal course where you learn about animals’ health and how to care for them.

Craig and I sell The Big Issue together. I started first, and I got him into it. It first started when I was in Perth with my older sister. Craig came to some barbecue with a mate of his. There was a bonfire. We were eating marshmallows. And I had a massive crush. But I was young. I bumped into him again in 2017 at the SRS – support residential services thingies – where I was living, and we’ve been together for six years.

We have a few things in common. We like going to go-karts. We race each other. I watch his shows, he watches my shows… Well, he doesn’t watch my shows, and I can’t stand Judge Judy…Mum got him into it, but I escape upstairs to do my colouring.

Nowadays, Craig and I live in Braybrook. It’s good to have a place of our own. The income from selling The Big Issue helps, mainly for bills and stuff.

Family and friends are important to me. At the moment, Mum and Steve, my stepdad, are staying with us, before they go to Serbia to live. I’m going to take her to the movies before she goes. My parents are Serbian. I speak a little bit, but not much. I understand a little bit, not much.

I went to Serbia with my dad when I was 17. I had my 18th birthday party there. I had fun, we had a barbecue and there was snow. The only thing is, the trackies I was wearing when I went down the sled, they split!

Vesna sells The Big Issue at Flemington, St Kilda and Spotswood Farmers’ Market, Melbourne.

Interview by Amy Hetherington
Photo by James Braund

Published in ed#699