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Sara Pascoe: ‘I had a very stupid opinion for a long time about therapy’

Comedian Sara Pascoe talks about her father, her fears growing up and how she got her big break in the latest edition of The Big Issue

Comedian Sara Pascoe didn’t always have the confidence to stand up on stage and entertain the nation, no matter how natural it might look now.

With a new sitcom, Out Of Her Mind, available on the BBC, she tells The Big Issue’s Jane Graham about her Dad, dog and debatable opinions in the latest Letter to My Younger Self, available in this week’s The Big Issue.

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At 16 I was very sure that I was going to be an actor. I was very into amateur dramatics and going to drama club and auditioning. And I was a bit of a tearaway at the same time.

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So though drama club makes me sound very dweeby, most of the people at drama were a little older, so there was a lot of drinking in the park too. My mum tried desperately to keep me and my sisters inside but we were quite feral.

My dad moved out when I was seven. My parents were unhappy together so it was a relief when he left, they were both much happier. Until he moved to Australia when I was 16 we saw him regularly so he was very, very much still our dad.

I remember later at school, meeting people who were very sad about their parents divorcing, and I was thinking, no, it was brilliant, no arguing any more. It was very sad when my dad moved to Australia though. It did feel like I was never going to see him again because it’s such a long way away.

When I met an Australian man [her now husband, comedian Steen Raskopoulos] it was kind of my mum’s worst nightmare; “No, you are not moving to Australia.” I said, no, he’s moving here. So I’ve done the opposite to my dad – he married an Australian, I’ve stolen an Australian back. 

I was very sad when I was 16, but I didn’t particularly know how to verbalise it.The reason I think I really loved acting at that time was I could pretend to be somebody else, not myself, a person I loathed. And also, I really thought that it would change everything if I became successful. So that’s what I really focused on.

It was a driving force for me, but I think it came from quite a negative place. I think it’s a very typical teenage thing. I didn’t like what I looked like. And I didn’t feel very popular. It was just a disappointment in myself, thinking everyone else was having a good time, an easier time, and more boys fancied them. I was very jealous of other people, especially people who had money, who could afford to buy nice clothes and things like that. I always found that very hard.

I look back at myself and think, she was so young and thin!You just get older and fatter, and you look back at old photos and think, she hated herself so much. It’s crazy.

Sometimes because of my job now I get to talk to young people, and it’s so hard because when they reach out because they’re unhappy you think, I absolutely know how you feel. Because in that moment it feels like life or death, and you’re crying yourself to sleep because someone said you’ve got a big nose. You feel it very, very deeply.

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