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Biffy James

Author, Entertainment, Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development/Welfare, Storyteller/Performer

Biffy James understands the tragedy of being a teenager. It’s hard, it’s exhausting and it’s confusing. But also? It can be kinda hilarious. 

By sharing embarrassing, sometimes heartbreaking anecdotes of her own adolescence; encouraging students to find that thing that makes them feel completely themselves; and reminding them that high school isn’t forever, Biffy creates a space for teenagers to feel that maybe someone gets it: the world really is super weird. 

Doesn’t mean you can’t conquer the world, though.

Where were you born?

Melbourne

What other jobs have you had?

Good grief. What other jobs? What other jobs!? Imagine I’m talking really fast:

The girl who swept up hair at a salon

Retail, where a colleague called himself a ‘Denim Technician.’ Calm down, dude. You sell jeans.

Bartender

Selling advertising space in magazines called – I am not lying – Railway Magazine, Aeroplane Monthly and Cage & Aviary. That last one involved calling people asking if their baby black-headed caique hen birds were available yet and would they like to place a classified ad?

Boarding School House Mother

Proofreader

Casting Director. Sounds cool. Until you realise it means listening to 80 different people singing ‘Down Down Prices are Down’ over 8 hours to cast a Coles commercial.

Producer. Also sounds cool. But once I had to sunscreen an actor’s legs for him because he was very busy ‘resting’ between takes.

Teacher. The actual coolest, most awesome job of all. Seriously. Students rule.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Adolescence is complicated and messy and hard. Family can be the same. Grief. Bitchy friends. Awesome friends. You can actually have platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex and anyone in between, and no, it doesn’t have to be romantic. Mental health. Finding your tribe. Finding that ‘thing’ that you can do and want to do and then doing it. Finding your outlets in art or writing or sport or music or whatever feels right. Respect. Giving it and receiving it. Recognising your value – not just as a student or a friend or a child – but as you. Shedding labels. Using your voice. Remembering your potential and you can do whatever you want in the world (but how in world is that possible when you’ve got footy training and homework and hormones and Mr S is writing a note home but you can’t worry about that now cos you’ve gotta go to your part-time job and the boss is in a bad mood and that girl you hate is on the same shift and the world is on fire and you’re tired.) Getting it.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Getting the book published and then people actually reading it and then getting all the STICKERS!!! It was less about the awards and more about the stickers. I love stickers. Even if I had never been a teacher, I would love stickers.

But also – and more so in a lot of ways – the students I’ve taught. And knowing what I did for them, and what they’ve done for me.

Where have your works been published?

Australia, New Zealand, and … get this … Slovenia. I know. It’s hilarious. And amazing. Go Slovenia!

What are you passionate about?

Students/teenagers recognising that school and learning isn’t the same thing. Learning is absolutely awesome. It just looks different depending on who and where you are.

Respect. In all areas. In all ways. In all people. Whether that’s in a classroom or in public or at home. Just showing basic human decency is super easy and kind and makes you feel good too.

Snowy. Snowy is a white teddy-bear. She is very old.

Dogs bigger than a microwave

Oh, and writing. Obviously.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Probably. I’m very famous.

Or else I was that random woman who stopped you on the street because you had a big dog and I wanted to play with him.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I can recite all the states of America in alphabetical order off by heart.

I know. I’m pretty cool.

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