HUNTERhunter Sub-Editor & Account Guru

This International Women’s Day, we’ve been working on something a little different, allowing our readers to get to know the women behind HUNTERhunter.

We thought what better way to do it than to get our team to SPILL. That’s right, we’re taking you behind the scenes with each of the HUNTERhunter team members to find out where they eat, what playlist they’re listening to, where they take our out-of-town friends, and ultimately, what makes them tick.

Keeping with the spirit of International Women’s Day, and as an all-female team, we’ve sprinkled in a few questions to understand what March 8 means for HUNTERhunter.

So, without further ado, get to know the faces behind Newcastle’s favourite online lifestyle publication. Meet Jasmin Gray, Sub-Editor of HUNTERhunter.

Bringing her grammatical skills to the team in June 2017, Jasmin is the genius behind HUNTERhunter’s editorial quality. Words are Jasmin’s jam – she’s an avid and speedy reader, smoothing out the rough edges across all our digital content. 

spill international womens day 2024 jasmin gray newcastle nsw
HUNTERhunter Sub-Editor & Account Guru

Let’s kick things off – what does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Whilst it’s about celebrating the achievements of local women, and women across the world, for me it’s about acknowledging what still needs to be done to achieve equality and raising funds to support businesses and charities that work toward this. It’s heartening to see businesses that support women year-round. 

How do you feel about working with an all-female team?

It’s refreshing working in an all-female office. I love our small team, and we work together really well and cheer each other on in our interests outside of the job. There’s a great work/life balance, it doesn’t ever feel like a chore.

Where are you from?  

I was born in Sydney and grew up on the Central Coast, and north of Byron Bay before moving to Newcastle for mid-high school and uni. After a 5-year stint working in Sydney, I moved back to Newcastle. My husband and I both have family here, and it felt like the right place to be. Now that we’re raising a family, I appreciate how many beautiful parks and beaches we have access to. I’m glad I came back. Sydney is great, and I love visiting, but I also love coming home.

Do you consider yourself more of an early bird or a night owl?

A night owl. It feels like a waste of a night if I go to bed too early! 

Where’s your late-night hangout spot?

Many a good night out has included a late-night drink or two at Coal and Cedar – no matter how quiet Hunter Street seems to be, Coal and Cedar will be buzzing!

What’s your coffee order?

If it’s takeaway, it’s a flat white. If it’s in a cafe, it’s a cappuccino. If I’m at Autumn Rooms, it’s an iced latte.

Speaking of coffee, which local venue knows your order by heart?

Welsh Blacks in Cooks Hill. 

Tell me about your favourite HH moment…

A few years ago we traveled to Tasmania to check out Dark Mofo on a team trip, it was a fantastic experience. Another fave was seeing whales, dolphins, and the coastline of Newcastle from CoastXP’s boat.

In your spare time, what are your THREE top favourite things to do in Newcastle?

- Swim at the beach or the ocean baths
- Visit one of the many art galleries
- Op shopping

If you wanted to dazzle your out-of-town friends and family, where would you take them?

Somewhere with top-notch service and food. I’m not necessarily talking about fine dining, but places where a lot of thought has gone into the menu, and the service is friendly and considerate. 

Some highlights in recent years are Signal Box, Urban Deli and Bar, Lock’s Paddock, HUMBUG, Bocados, and Boydell’s at Morpeth.

Beer? Wine? Cocktail? Mocktail? What is your tipple of choice and where do you frequently visit?

I love Tilse’s apple cider. Amy from our team introduced me to Krinklewood’s Wild Pink – delicious. In cooler weather, I love The Farmer’s Wife Warm Winter Gin with Capi spicy ginger beer, or Boydell’s fortified verdelho (warmed up!). 

If you’re after local wine, beer (and cheese), with friendly and helpful staff, the best spot is The Prince Bottle Shop.

On the daily, what’s guaranteed to make you smile?

My kids, and the often friendly, sometimes very random chats with people in the community.

What do you NEVER leave the house without?

Lip balm – I love Scrubba Body Peppermint lip balm.

Tell me THREE of your favourite local businesses that you live and breathe by and why you couldn’t live without them…

- Slab Cheesecakes in Islington for the best cheesecakes around, the biscoff cheesecake is my fave.

- Bookshops: MacLean’s Booksellers, Betty Loves Books, The Press Bookhouse, Cooks Hill Books, Rice’s Bookshop, and Q’s Books, to name a few. We go through so many books in our household, and they’re often our go-to gift.

- Honest Paper: I love stationery, and love that Newcastle has a dedicated stationery store. The products are beautiful, and the team has collaborated with local artists for items like wrapping paper.

What about local businesses run by women? Are there any that you want to shout out?

There are so many passionate and hardworking women in our community, including in some of the businesses I've just mentioned. A few women I'd like to shout out are:

Alie Jane, of Alie Jane Travel Accessories and Designs: Alie sews all of her vibrant products in-store, and never seems to stop! She’s always saving money for Dog Rescue and other charities. I love stopping by her store for a chat and a browse.

Michelle from Ramjet Assortments: I have been visiting this Darby Street store for almost 20 years now. Michelle knows exactly what will suit you, and takes the time to make sure you’re happy. Last year she introduced Ramjet Reloved, where you can buy preloved clothes from previous seasons. It’s brilliant and is a testament to Michelle’s eye for quality and classic pieces.

Alessandra Papazzo of Osteria Papazzo: The delicious meals and beautiful floral arrangements are produced by Alessandra herself, at this Italian cucina that pops up at Talulah every Friday night. It has a warm, laid-back atmosphere, perfect for a casual dinner with friends.

What about the women in your life who make you who you are?

Many women have helped to shape my life.

I’ve had a few excellent mentors throughout my working life, and we still catch up at least once or twice a year. I’ve appreciated their influence and guidance, career-wise and on a personal level, especially now that I have two boys of my own.

Just over ten years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son, my mum, Laraine, developed early-onset dementia, due to primary progressive aphasia. It’s a condition that affects speech and language, and Mum is now mostly non-verbal. It was really hard to navigate being a new mother, without my mother. There are so many situations where I miss being able to call her and ask what she would have done, or how things were when I was small. My sister, Naomi, is one of my favourite people and, for each other, being able to somewhat fill the gap that Mum has left has drawn us even closer. 

My husband’s family is full of strong women, especially my mother-in-law, Kay. She’s loving, generous, and funny, and I’m lucky to have her in my corner.

I’m a singer in a band, and consider our band members and their partners to be family. Sara, Brit, Liv, Peta - thanks for the adventures so far. My singing teacher, Annabella Redman, is based in Maitland and has been inspiring me for the last 19 years.

Across school, uni, work, band, mother’s group days, and the last few years, I have a bunch of pretty awesome female friends. We all have busy lives but we catch up when we can – it’s a good excuse to go out and try some delicious food! 

A special mention goes to Fiona and Alissa, founders of HUNTERhunter – I was on maternity leave with my youngest son in 2017 when they asked me to come on board. Over the years, my position has evolved, and I’m so happy to be working for a company I am passionate about, in a city that I love.

What are you reading / watching / listening to now?

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney, The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, and 27 Letters to My Daughter by Ella Ward. Currently reading Honeybee by Craig Silvey and The Unreal and the Real by Ursula K. Le Guin. 

Favourite watches include Black Mirror, Deadloch, See, Sex Education, and Boy Swallows Universe. I am currently rewatching Brooklyn 99.

If you’re needing a short break away from Newcastle, where do you go and why?

We usually visit family and friends in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, and Noosa. They’re also great places to holiday with the kids, stopping in coastal towns along the way.

What’s your go-to playlist?

I usually make playlists of my fave songs for driving, but I like listening to an album in the order the artist intended (how else are you supposed to find the hidden tracks?!). Some of my most-played music is by Tori Amos, First Aid Kit, Shihad, Medhanit, Aimee Mann, Susanne Sundfør, Ray LaMontagne, Bec Sykes, Tex Perkins, Agnes Obel, Imogen Heap, and Sufjan Stevens.

What would you like to see more of in Newcastle?

Newcastle has so many specialty shops and venues dotted throughout the city. Two of my fave venues to open in recent years are Newcastle Comedy Club and Jam’s Karaoke Bar. I’d love to see cinemas, and more night time venues opening in the city and in Honeysuckle, to bring people into Newcastle and fill the great restaurants and bars that are already here.