Papier Passions

What I Wanted to Be When I Was 5

Isn’t it funny how most of us feel like we haven’t got it all figured out yet? But rewind a couple of decades or so back to when we were five, and it feels like we had all our grand future plans mapped out in our little minds.

There’s something rather beautiful about the big dreams you conjure up with bold confidence as a kid – free from the fears, insecurities and concerns we carry as adults. So to celebrate our 5th birthday here at Papier, we asked five pals plus our lovely editor of The Fold (yes, ok that’s six in total) to tell us what they wanted to achieve at the magical age of 5.


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Ellie Crewes, illustrator & author of The Times I Knew I Was Gay
“The other day my best friend reminded me of some life-changing career advice she gave me back in primary school. I really wanted to be a vet, but at the time she told me — with her five years of wisdom — that I should draw for books instead. As we went to a Catholic school we’d often write and decorate prayers. So I'd take those moments to juggle my conflicting dreams of future animal healer and artist, by sending lots of hope into the ether that all the stray cats in the world would be looked after.”


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Preeya Varsani, Head of Corporate & Community Fundraising at Women for Women International
“I used to want to be a detective when I was younger. There was something about the investigation, mystery and element of justice that I loved! I haven’t quite ended up in that field but I think the passion for justice has been realised in choosing to work for Women for Women International.”


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Jordan Mitchell, Managing Director at Liz Matthews PR
“When I was 5 I had two big goals, one was to own my own adventure playground/funfair. I remember constantly trying to turn my back garden into a theme park and would have endless discussions with my neighbour on how we could transform the slide into a rollercoaster.

My other big dream was to be an actress and dancer. I would force my siblings to perform shows for our parents but I would always need to be at the front! Oh, to be 5 and live in my dreams again.”


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Lily Vanili, baker, author & café owner
“I don't remember ever consciously wanting to be a baker, it was always something I fell into unexpectedly and accidentally in my 20s. But when I started the business, my dad told me that when I was really little that's what I always said I wanted to be which blows my mind. Perhaps in some unconscious way it manifested.”


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Theresa Lola, poet, writer & the 2019 Young People's Laureate for London
“At five years old I loved reading, I still remember the shelf at home where my mum kept novels. I imagined myself as a writer then, but often our aspirations change over time. My five- year-old self would be excited that the twenty something-year-old me is here.”


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Will Hutchins, editor of The Fold
“Like a lot of 5-year-olds, I was obsessed with dinosaurs. I wanted to be some sort of paleontologist/heroic dinosaur adventurer and I sure as hell wasn’t going to wait around for adulthood to start on my chosen career path.

So one day, despite a distinct lack of paleontological artefacts of any kind, I made a sign – ‘DINOSAUR MUSEUM HERE’ – and asked Mum to stick it on our front door. She obliged and then I waited. And waited, and waited. What was I actually going to do if someone did knock? I’m not sure I had thought that far ahead but it didn’t matter – no one did. I decided to turn my career ambitions elsewhere.”