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Anita Roddick has never followed the rules. As a child of Italian immigrants growing up in England she remembers feeling like an outsider, already campaigning for nuclear disarmament at 10 years old. As a young woman she defied convention by setting off to explore the world both teaching to and learning from the diverse cultures she encountered during her travels. As a mother and wife trying to make ends meet she opened The Body Shop with no business training, little experience and a whole lot of belief and enthusiasm.With hard work and passion her first little shop in Brighton has today grown into an international retail blueprint for ethical business practice and social change; all this from a self-described rebel who always broke the rules and never looked back. jobpostings spoke with Anita about her childhood, her influences, and the famous ideals behind The Body Shop philosophy.What was it like for you growing up in England?I was born here so the language was fine but you definitely still feel like an outsider. We were probably the only Italians in the community so you definitely feel different. I mean the language, the volubility, the parents, the smells, the high-octane voice, and an extremely brave mum who had no fear. So I think kids who grow up that way have got a complete and utter obsession with work ethic, there is no leisure and no understanding of leisure. My mum had a caf├® and all of us kids worked there, so work, well it was life.How old were you when you started working in the caf├®?My dad died when I was ten, so I was ten. We worked every holiday when everybody else was having a good time or going off. But I think most working class kids work anyway. The other thing was we always worked in other people's leisure time. In a holiday town where people come for weekends we were working. But it was an amazing environment. Mum had a Wurlitzer jukebox, which was the only one in town. She had pinball machines. It was a gathering place for kids meeting up with friends and making dates. It was very much like a diner, you know those American diners.┬¡Do you think this was an early training ground in developing your work ethic?Absolutely, there were four kids in our family and everyone had jobs from the minute they got up, cleaning out the grates, bringing in the coal, doing the shopping. And because my mum was fearless she forced trained us into that. If she didn't like a piece of meat or a fish we would have to go back as kids so there was no sense of being timid.You probably cursed it as a child but thank her later on in life for instilling those values?Well, the other values were the aesthetic values. I mean this is a time of Coca-Cola just coming on board and all the visual identities. Then my dad was an American so we had Norman Rockwell in The Saturday Evening Post. The movies were just starting to be part of culture. The values that were inherited in me came out of my mum being an immigrant. She was fearless, as she didn't like the Catholic Church. We were Catholic, so she threw a bucket of water at the priest then she sabotaged the church by putting garlic on her hems and marching us into church. Then there were these extraordinary teachers. When I think back, education was such a human scale thing then. It wasn't about pushing kids down a conveyer belt for a job. My teachers really gave me the social education. They are the ones who introduced me to John Steinbeck and William Faulkner. It was truly that.Were you encouraged to go to university or was that a personal choice you made?Immigrant families always wanted their kids to do better so for me it wasn't going to be university or whatever, it was going to be a profession. So the schools trained you in nursing or secretarial, neither of which I was interested in. I wanted to be a teacher. I got a scholarship to go to a marvelous school called the Centre School of Music and Drama but my mum didn't think they taught anything that was appropriate. The next best thing to an eccentric actress is to teach because you've got a guaranteed audience. That was why I took that route.Is it safe to say that you did well in school? Not that well. I got enough to get through teachers training college but I wasn't academically bright. I did okay but academic knowledge is no measure now. I think it's road knowledge when you can actually use your experiences and when they start crediting you for having the intelligence to go out and travel and to come back with some great experiences that you can learn from. Especially now I would look at the non-government organizations for employment. It's so exciting in that area and I definitely wouldn't be persuaded to think business is the only excitement. I wouldn't even use the word business. It would be livelihood creation or independence because when you run your own business it's about freedom. When you have your own livelihood it's about freedom. Finding the skills and the interest to shape it into a livelihood I think is the smartest thing to do. Photos: Svetl/Thinkstock