Fuck, I am who I am / Marianna Tortell

Marianna Tortell, age 48.

(She forgot to write this part so I will). Marianna is a proud Kiwi. She moved to London in 1998 and when she first met her still to be best friend Paddy, she was nearly an hour late. An hour! He waited. They had five minutes before he had to go back to work. In that five minutes, they started a friendship that lasts to this day.

What makes you laugh?

My friends and nieces are pretty hilarious (in a good way!), and make me laugh most days. I love comedy, and have almost damaged myself laughing to people like Kath and Kim, Billy Connolly and Nish Kumar. Paddy, you and I have also spent the odd evening laughing uncontrollably - always good for the soul!

When did you last cry?

A couple of weeks ago when I was upset about something. I’m lucky to have a lovely shoulder to cry on when I need it

What’s your earliest memory?

It’s not one memory, but lots of different snippets and feelings, like laughing in the bath with my sister, feeling tiny at kindergarten, being wrapped up in a warm towel after swimming ... and my big sister making me eat a fly.

What love means to you

There isn’t only one kind of love, so love doesn’t only mean one thing. But some of the things it means to me (in all its forms) are: fun and playful, a beautiful adventure, safety, feeling seen and held without judgement, being held to account, energising, and the best thing ever!

What makes you unique to everyone else?

The way my chromosomes are organised. And how I store my shoes the wrong way round

Name 3 people (living or dead) you’d invite to your virtual quarantine dinner party.

Frida Kahlo, Tracy Chapman and my oldest friend Em who I’ve known since I was about 1 (we’re both now 48).

Describe yourself in 5 words (this can be a sentence or 5 separate words).

A fighty, stubborn feminist; silly and playful; a worrier; loyal and caring; gullible.

Who or what has made the greatest impact on your life?

The amazing, inspirational warrior women in my life (I stand on the shoulders of giants); feminist, anti-racist activists and theorists; my gorgeous nieces; and moving to the UK and coming out in my 20s.

Any regrets?

Yep. That’s it, that’s all you’re getting!

Tell us something no one knows about you (and I mean no-one)? Until now.

As a chronic over- sharer, this is hard! So instead something not many people know is that I quit Brownies after the leader was mean to me because I didn’t have a religion and didn’t know anything about religion. She didn’t believe that I wasn’t religious and so called my mum to say that I must have made a mistake on the form when I put a dash by the religion question, and my mum really angrily told her “if she put dash then it’s dash!”