Three years ago, I made a VICE documentary about Melissa Ede, a trans woman who worked a 60-hour week as a taxi driver in Hull, England. The film followed her as she prepared to say goodbye to life on Earth and relocate to the planet Mars as part of the Mars One Project—a trip, unfortunately, that she didn’t end up qualifying for. Mind you, the film wasn’t just about that: It also showed Ede to be funny, kind, and hardworking and demonstrated how making life better for trans people was really what drove her.
VICE: Mel! It’s me, Daisy.
Melissa Ede: Hello, my lovely. How are you doing, stranger?
Can I just say, congratulations!
It’s unbelievable, really, isn’t it? Only in my world.
Has this made you believe in a higher power or anything? Is this divine intervention?
To be honest with you, I do truly, truly believe it is. If you believe in something enough, you can materialize it. Obviously, there has been someone up there helping me. Who knows—none of us will know this until we leave our time on Earth.
It’s not a small amount of money, either. I mean, if I won £100,000 [$140,000] I’m pretty sure I’d be swanning around like a big shot.
So far, in cash, I’ve only spent £20,000 [$28,000] since I won. I’m thinking, I’ve got another £80,000 [$112,000] before I’ve spent £100,000 [$140,000]. Then I’ve got ten of those before I’ve spent 1 million, and then I’ve got 4 million—and it’s like, hell, that is a lot of money! My partner and I still go out shopping for bargains. We’ll go into the supermarket, and we’ll go, “Ah, we’re not having that. We can get it down the road for cheaper.” We laugh because we think, Why are we even doing this? We’re millionaires! But we might as well save money. The first thing people would normally do is go out and buy a big flashy car. I bought a 2011. My friends say, “Mel, this money hasn’t even changed you.” But why should it? I’m still the same person, but I’ve got more money in the bank now—that’s not going to change me.