Belinda Downes is a very funny, and smart woman! I first saw Belinda a few months ago when she appeared on ABC's 'You Can't Ask That', where she and her fellow interviewees were answering the questions that you 'can't ask' about facial difference. It was pretty obvious from her appearance on the program that Belinda was a woman with a good sense of humour AND a solid message to get across. Shortly after, her Facebook page @coffeewithbelindadownes showed up in my feed and I realised she was a local coffee lover....and a linguist! So of course, I had to get in touch with her!
Belinda is a linguistics expert and teaches teachers (yep, a little alliteration) about the science of language at university. Her explanation of language and communication is so fascinating and easy to understand that it made me wish I'd continued studying linguistics myself at uni beyond the first year. She is a passionate advocate for Newcastle....and COFFEE - a woman after my own heart - who is spreading the word far and wide about my hometown (and introduced me to a local cafe with excellent coffee and lots of hand-baked treats that I'll be working my way through at some point in the near future). Aaaand, Belinda is a very eloquent speaker, who uses her words wisely. When I listened to the playback of our chat, I got a shiver when I heard her very simple yet profound advice that we should all adhere to: "I am heard, people listen to me, and if I don't use that it's a waste". One thing I particularly love about many of the articles and commentary Belinda curates on her social media, is that they really challenge us to recognise and confront common stereotypes associated with facial difference, as well as imploring each of us to respect other people's stories without putting 'our stuff' on them. Belinda’s own videos are cheeky and educational at the same time, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them as her library grows!
On top of all this, Belinda is in her own words: an ordinary woman who enjoys researching, reading, and gaming. She's a great conversationalist, friend to many, and partner to a lucky fellow (as he is known on her page). And as evidenced by her comment “I get really frustrated with soapies” clearly, she has better taste in tv than I do!
I'm really chuffed Belinda sat down with me for coffee (and should probably be a little more embarrassed than what I am for letting slip that I knew what was coming up on Bold & the Beautiful)….Enjoy our conversation!