THE LAST WORD... ‘ ’ When I met a snake catcher I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s next on my bucket list’

WITH SNAKE BOSS JU­LIA BAKER

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - SATURDAY OCTOBER 24 - WithTif­fanyDunk

“I DIDN’T start out as a snake catcher. I left school at 16 and be­came a pas­try chef. It’s not re­ally what I wanted to do – I wanted to be­come an ac­tress – but I had to get a real job. I worked in big five-star ho­tels, first in Syd­ney, then in Bris­bane but when I had my two daugh­ters it made it im­pos­si­ble to go back into the ho­tel in­dus­try.

So I quit pas­try for a job with Weight Watch­ers, be­cause I lost quite a bit of weight.

Then, seven years ago I went through a di­vorce. I was quite de­pressed for about six months and my self-es­teem and con­fi­dence was com­pletely shot. But I thought: “I’ve got to pick my­self up, I’ve got two young girls and I’ve got to be a role model. This is not how I ex­pected my life to be but I’ve got to make the best out of it.”

So I wrote a bucket list of all of these things I’d al­ways wanted to do and I did them. I learnt to ride a mo­tor­bike, I got a pet snake be­cause I’d al­ways loved them, I did an act­ing diploma, I did some stand-up com­edy cour­ses.

I did all of the things I’d wanted to do and af­ter I’d ticked them off, the fol­low­ing year it had to be big­ger and big­ger.

I’ve al­ways had a con­nec­tion with snakes be­cause I feel like they’re to­tally mis­un­der­stood. I re­mem­ber I saw one in Aus­tralia Zoo and got my pic­ture taken and I didn’t get ev­ery­body else’s re­ac­tion. They were dis­gusted and scream­ing and ter­ri­fied and this poor python was just sit­ting there look­ing gor­geous.

And I thought, ‘My life has been like that’. I felt how badly hu­man be­ings mis­un­der­stand each other and an­i­mals as well. I wanted to give them a voice and show the world how beau­ti­ful they are. So when I met a snake catcher I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s next on my bucket list. That way I can ed­u­cate peo­ple and save snakes’. That was five years ago.

When I first started, peo­ple would ring up and say, ‘Can I talk to the snake catcher man?’. And I’d get some mild amuse­ment when a man would be there when I’d turn up and he’d say, ‘Oh, I was just about to do it my­self’. But I un­der­stand peo­ple. I’ve got silly pho­bias and just be­cause you’re a man doesn’t mean you’re go­ing to be brave about ev­ery­thing.

The two big ob­jec­tives of mine for Snake Boss are first, we need to show snakes in a dif­fer­ent light. They need to be on this Earth. We need to pre­serve them, we need to re­spect them.

Se­condly, I’d like to in­spire peo­ple through the show. At the age of 40 I turned my whole life around and I’m so much hap­pier for it. If you’ve got a few crazy goals or dreams, just go for it. And write your bucket list!” SNAKE BOSS MON­DAY, 8.30PM, AN­I­MAL PLANET

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