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Activist Gina Miller on Brexit, death threats and making your own luck

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Colin Crummy
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Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. What will the activist and business owner make of our existential questions?

What is the meaning of life? 

Plato once defined man as “a being in search of meaning”. We are not born with a pre-determined purpose, so I think the meaning of life, of our life, is what we choose to give it.

What is the difference between right and wrong? 

I am a great believer in listening to your inner voice, that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach.

Where is your happy place? 

Snuggled up on the sofa with my wonderful children.

Nature or nurture? 

Both. Nature provides the raw materials, if you like, and nurture shapes you into the adult you become.

Is it more important to be liked or respected? 

Respected, although this takes much more work and is the more difficult option. Also, if you worry about being liked, it hangs like a weight around your neck.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be? 

That I was always someone who tried to help others.

Who or what is your greatest love? 

Family aside – it has to be music.

When did you last lie? 

At Christmas when my mother gave me some money and made me promise I would spend it on myself – I gave it to a homeless charity.

Does the supernatural exist? 

I would never be presumptuous enough to say no, so maybe.

Are you fatalistic?

Very much so. I think we can make our own luck, but faith does play a hand. It has numerous times in my life, such as with the Supreme Court case [challenging the government’s authority to trigger article 50]. When others fell due to the febrile environment and abuse, I thought, ‘Well, of course it was going to be me’. I’m tough enough to withstand whatever was going to be thrown at me.

What is your greatest fear? 

Right now, that the strides we have made to become a more tolerant, equal and fair society will be rolled back in the wake of Brexit, and that my children and future generations will have to worry about who they are, the colour of their skin and how they are treated.

Animals or babies?

Both – I love animals but I also find it extraordinary to see the innocence and fragility of a baby and how we have managed to survive as a race.

What talent do you yearn for? 

To be able to sing – not just well, but with beauty, power and emotion.

Do you like to be complimented?

I find taking compliments very difficult. I’ve developed such a thick skin and tend to be on high alert for negative reactions or comments, so compliments tend to disarm me.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

 Yes! To the point that I sometimes worry about myself. I have a very strong mind over matter.

What book do you recommend most to others? 

I try not to recommend books to people. I think books are very personal and can depend on where you are in your journey in life – both biologically, spiritually and emotionally.

The heads on Easter Island

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

 To look after myself.

What food sums up happiness? 

Very difficult as I love food. I think it’s more that happiness is having family and friends around my table.

What have you never understood?

I have never understood revenge and using so much energy that also eats you up inside.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

I love archaeology and I would love to know the origins of some of the mysteries of the world: the cave drawings, the heads on Easter Island.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die? 

I’m scared of never seeing my children and husband again. When I get death threats, which is often, this thought alone often reduces me to tears.

Quinoa or Quavers? 

Quinoa. Although I am an absolute crisp freak, Quavers just are one of the few I don’t like. I can easily eat about five bags of crisps in one evening – especially when I’m working late.

Rise: Life Lessons In Speaking Out, Standing Tall And Leading The Way by Gina Miller (£16.99, Canongate) is out now

Images: Getty