With interviews you always hope to have enough questions and answers to fill your allotted interview time. I always hope the interviewees are either: interesting, opinionated and passionate. Just sometimes you meet that rare person who has those three and bags upon bags of personality. Christina Noble is that person. Stephen Bradley’s film biopic of her life is out now. I was lucky enough to sit down with her to receive a command performance of her singing, chatting and imparting pearls of wisdom. How did a girl from the slums of Dublin come to set up a foundation in a country she couldn’t show you on a map and save countless children’s lives despite being separated from her siblings, raised in a convent and escaping an abusive husband. Here’s how she managed it in her own words:
“I love me. All the great things you can do. We’ve all got brains. Don’t give up no matter what. Never give up. Love who you are. Be proud of who you are and know who you are. I know who I am. Many tried to take it away.”
[BRWC] You’ve seen the film. Was the story told in the way you’d want to tell it?
I was happy with it because…mmmm…did you read me book?
They didn’t give you a book? They are so mean in that office [laughs]. You’d have to read the book. The film is a very small part of my life. But what they did was they did it very well. I mean you can’t produce a film that’s really too painful because people can’t deal with it you know. You want
your audience to go out with a good balance. No one can tell my story. [John] Keats said “no experience ever becomes real until it is experienced – even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it”. I think the film has been beautifully done but
it is a small part of my life but the big part of my life, the beautiful part of my life. I’m glad that I am me and I don’t want to be anyone else.
[BRWC] Do you feel they captured who you were on the screen.
Yes. Do you know the sparrow. Ah I bet you do. I loved Edith Piaf. [She sings Non,je ne regrette rein pitch perfect]. I was a kid. What I thought it sounded like I’d write it down. I loved her. Meaningful, deep, I loved her depth. I loved Shirley Bassey:[sings] “I don’t give a damn for lost emotions, I’ve given all I have to give.”
[BRWC] When get to Vietnam in 1989 and you’re like I don’t care what you’re going to say to me I’m going to do this. Do you think you’re childhood helped you achieve all that you’ve achieved now?
Yep. I know I was born with an interest. I loved people and children even from when I was small. I always stood up for anyone not able to defend themselves. I was never a bully. I’d ask why you make her cry for. They never had a proper answer. The Lord said we’d be friends with everyone. I’d say I’d give them toffee and if they said yes I’d say no because it wasn’t sincere. If you are going to make up it should be from the heart with feeling otherwise it won’t last. I wasn’t perfect or anything like that.
[BRWC] You were always really adventurous. Have you spoken to your family. What do they think of the film?
My family that’s alive went to see it. My sister that went to Canada and my brother from America [saw it]. My two sisters came and my children also. Well, they cried you know. They cried, some memories hit them you know and they cried very much, at the separation [scenes] when they were put in the van. Very well shown – exactly – the black mariah [the prison van was called that].
Noble is out now and was released in cinemas across the UK on 12 February.
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