From the Horse’s Mouth
This is a column where we ask a British person about British things.
Meet Natalie Pela, a woman of Britain. In addition to this huge accomplishment, Natalie is a yoga teacher, voiceover artist, singer, and member of the all-female Deep Throat Choir.
“It’s surprisingly hard to find candid [photos] where I don’t have a drink in my hand” - Natalie
Q: How British are you?
A: Me, my parents, and my grandparents were all born in Britain. I am the third generation of my family to be born in Great Britain, but some of the language (my grandparents would often throw in Yiddish words) and cooking (again grandparents’ influence — matzo-ball soup and chopped liver) have made me feel aware of and connected to my Jewish Eastern European roots.
Q: Apart from having the nationality bestowed on you at birth, what makes you British?
A: My accent is a bit of a giveaway. Apparently, in my early years I was incredibly well-spoken — much more than any of my family — rather like the queen, in fact! Thankfully, my accent softened up over the years. But I guess to most I still sound quite well spoken, with a North London twang.
Q: What do you like most about Britain?
A: The different regional identities and accents.
Q: What cliché about British people is actually true?
A: British people really are self-deprecating to a fault. When I think of almost every Brit I know, they will always play down their latest project, achievements, and find it really hard to take compliments.
Q: Favorite London pub?
A: My local, the St. Johns Tavern in Archway, North London.
Q: What sort of exciting things have happened to you on the Tube?
A: The night Tube is a whole different animal to the daytime Tube; people are more open and chatty and more alcohol-fuelled! I was recently drawn into a volleyball-type game on the night tube, which went from a game of catch between a couple of friends to the whole carriage getting involved. Which would never happen on daytime Tube with our British reserve.
Q: Is Prince Charles a cool guy, in your view?
A: I wouldn’t say he is outright cool. He’s no Obama.
Q: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, please tell us about your favorite British snack.
A: Twiglets! The ultimate old-school British snack. I love the knobbly irregular shape of them, and that delicious Marmite taste.
Who Is ______ ? Coleen Rooney, a.k.a. "Wagatha Christie"
Great Britain is a tiny island with a disproportionately large number of sort-of-famous people no one in America has ever heard of. In this pointless weekly column, we will introduce you to Britain’s most beloved extremely minor celebrities.
Coleen Rooney seems to be single-handedly keeping the British newspaper industry afloat, inspiring a great number of headlines by doing the most banal activities. In the last week alone, I’ve been subject to: “Coleen and Wayne Rooney's Incredible Dining Table Is Almost as Big as a Football Pitch” and even “Coleen Rooney Cuts a Sporty Figure in Stylish Workout Gear as She Stocks Up on Goods For Her Family at the Supermarket Amid COVID-19 Lockdown.” Good God, who is this woman and why is her table better than mine?
Coleen, wife of soccer player Wayne Rooney, is one of the world’s most famous WAGs, up there with Victoria Beckham and Shakira. Coleen and Wayne met when she was 12, started dating when she was 16, and married at 22. They now have four sons. Wayne is a handful; one 2019 article referred to his ‘new’ hooker scandal, to differentiate it from all the other hooker scandals. He can’t even steer clear of drama during lockdown.
But Coleen triumphs. She’s beloved in her homeland, perhaps because she embodies the keep-calm-and-carry-on spirit. But any way you slice it, Coleen Rooney is a made-in-Britain brand, rolling out Coleen-centric television shows, books, and ad campaigns.
Perhaps Coleen’s greatest contribution to Anglo culture, however, is the “Wagatha Christie” scandal. Desperate to find out which of her friends was selling stories about her to the press, Coleen devised an MI5-level scheme to uncover the culprit. She limited who saw her Instagram posts, then began putting up fake stories. When Coleen’s sleuthing led her to accuse a fellow WAG as the rat, the story went viral. Think: “Footballers’ Wives at War!”
All of this, and our dear Coleen is still only 34. - Allie
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As a prize for your endurance, we’re treating you to another edition of “Absurd Royal Fact of the Week”.
This week's Absurd Royal Fact: At the age of nine, Princess Diana — then simply Diana Spencer — was shipped off to Riddlesworth Hall, the first of several boarding schools. There, girls of the landed gentry were taught important skills like flower arranging and ‘friendliness.’ Diana, who once referred to herself as "thick as a plank," shone in other ways. She won the ‘Leggat First Prize for Helpfulness’ and the prize for ‘best-kept guinea pig.’
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