Diana's story

From: Vaslui, Romania | Date moved to the UK: November 2012 | Occupation: Photographer, bartender | Qualifications: (BA) Photography

I came to London for a better life because the wages aren’t good in Romania. I work as a bartender at Westminster. It’s not my domain but I have to live.

When I first came over, I got an interview really quickly. It would have been my dream job. It was in Canary Wharf, in a dreamy office with great pay. I was asked to test shoot some girls. At the end of it, the boss said, “Diana, the job is yours.” He kept saying, ‘you are SO perfect for this job, you are energetic and happy.” I was so pleased. I went home smiling. I couldn’t believe I’d got the job.

But that same night, the boss texted me and said, “I really want to kiss you!” I was shocked. So I called him and told him that I didn’t come there for something like that, I came here for a job not for anything else. He said it was OK, and I could just be a photographer if I wanted but I didn’t want the job after that.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m Romanian. I’ve met English girls who drink a lot and they are really high, I just don’t think that Romanian girls are like this. Maybe he thought Romanian girls are easy and he could do something with me. He has a model agency and there are a lot of girls working there so he can have anyone he chooses.

After that I applied for lots more jobs. Sometimes employers would be interested but when they found out I was Romanian I never heard from them again. Some people have problems with Romanians. They have a bad confusion between Romanian people and gypsy people. They think all Romanians are whores and thieves.

"I try to make people think good things about Romanians"

I saw some articles recently about some Romanian people who live here. The headlines were something like ‘Don’t eat my cat!’ and ‘She does anal’ and something about stealing. It was horrible. Why do they write this rubbish? I was really pissed off. It’s not fair - there are bad people in every country, so why pick on us? There are French people who steal, British people who steal. But there are very few articles about that. I pay taxes, I work hard, it’s not fair for people to view us in this way.

Sometimes, I hear people talking about Romanian people and they don’t know I’m Romanian. They talk about what a bad problem it is that Romanians and Bulgarians are coming to the UK. They have such a bad opinion of us, I want to go up to them and say, “I’m Romanian, it’s not like this.”

In the end I just try to give a good impression wherever I go. I try to make people think good things about Romanians. I may not be able to do much for all Romanians of course, but for me, I can do something. I can be honest, I can be good, I can be OK.