I never knew that! With Kettle Culture Editor, Gemma Hirst

At Kettle Mag the editors remain hidden away in Kettle towers occupying themselves with ideas, proofing, tweeting and keeping their ears tuned to the latest news. But what do we know about these busy creatures? Here at frivolity over the coming weeks we intend to find out… and this week we go high-brow by talking to our culture editor, Gemma Hirst.

My parents don’t know this about me but…

When one does a little parp, I blame it on the cat.

What is the first thing you think of when somebody mentions the word ‘kettle’?

Funnily enough, and I’m not just saying it because it’s Kettle Magazine, but I do think of Kettle Mag. I have been writing for the magazine for a while now and it is a big part of my journo career, so when anyone mentions Kettle I just think, ooh, I must write another article.

How long after you wake up do you check your phone?

Probably within an hour, as I have a long way to travel for university. I need to check my phone as soon as I can for any travel and weather updates and of course Kettle Twitter (@KettleMag) updates.

Stranded on a desert island you wouldn’t be without…

Music. I love to dance as dancing makes me happy so without music I couldn’t dance and I wouldn’t be very happy on that island.

In the days before you could listen to radio on your TV or watch TV on a computer (yes they did exist!) imagine you could only have either radio or TV, which would it be?

I would have to say TV – how else would I be able watch Sky Arts and all my favourite musicals? I do love listening to Radio 2 but I have to have some sort of visual entertainment.

What is your favourite musical?

This is such a tough question and a question I am asked a lot. It’s a toss-up between Grease (not Grease 2 – I mean, that film has to be put into Room 101) and Wicked.

I would have to say Wicked – the story is so enchanting and I love the set, costumes and the songs. I often stand in front of my mirror in my room with a hairbrush and pretend to belt out ‘Defying Gravity’.

If you couldn’t edit the culture section for Kettle, which section would you choose?

Probably music, I have such a varied in taste in music that if you check my iPod the genres can range from folk to pop to classical to jazz.

Which friend that you met at uni is likely to be at your 60th birthday party?

My mate Samantha Jackson. We met at fresher’s and our relationship grew from a uni trip at Beamish – she is totally bonkers and has such a great sense of humour that whenever I’m stressing out she knows how to brighten up my day.

Wine or beer?

What about gin? Haha, wine. Get me a Pinot Grigio any day.

Cat or dog?

Cat. I used to have two cats but sadly one died of old age so now I have one little black cat called Sophie.

Football or rugby?

What are those?…. Haha I’m not much of a sporty gal but if I had to choose it would be football.

iPhone or Android?


Cinema or theatre?

Is the Pope catholic? It will always be theatre for me.

In the cinema – popcorn or pick and mix?


In the theatre interval – ice-cream or drink?


Apart from writing, what other creative talents do you have?

I used to dance in a dance company called Feet First and I studied A Level Dance and Performance Arts so I do miss performing. So sometimes you can catch me at home or in a cafe writing little scripts or choreographing dances.

If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?

An exclamation mark – I like to make a statement.

What is your most unappealing habit?

I can’t really think of anything at the moment – you will have to get back to me on that one.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Being proactive and never giving up.

Have you ever volunteered for anything?

Yeah, I love volunteering for arts events. I have volunteered for the Juice Festival, which is an arts festival in Newcastle and Gateshead where I helped write for their blog but also helped out at some of the events. And last year me and my mum volunteered in the Newcastle New Year parade where I got to wear glitter on my face and carry a torch and parade it around Newcastle.

Gemma Hirst, Kettle Mag,

Gemma and her Mum at the Newcastle Parade

I also volunteer for a range of publications such as Spark Magazine, Northern Lights, Fashion North and SR News which are based in the Media Hub Sunderland Uni.

Gemma Hirst voluntary jobs, Kettle Mag

Gemma’s collection of voluntary positions.

Who so far, family or otherwise, has influenced you in your life?

My grandma because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t even be doing journalism. And my Mum, she works two jobs and I admire her determination and her passion for working hard and being successful.

Which emoji do you use most frequently?

Let me just check my phone. According to my phone, I use the glass of wine emoji – haha I promise you I’m not an alcoholic!

What was the last song you listened to on your iPod/phone?

I just bought Adam Lambert’s new album so it will be a song from that album. I’m in love with his song ‘Rumours’.


Adam Lambert Rumors Lyrics (feat. Tove Lo)

What is your most over-used word or expression?

Frisky & Mannish, Gemma Hirst, Kettle Mag

By her own admission, Gemma talks a great deal about these two…Frisky and Mannish.

I actually did this on Facebook and according to that app, I use the word ‘frisky’ and ‘mannish’ a lot and those guys are a comedy cabaret duo that you guys should check out. I’ve seen them quite a lot in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in London, they are such a hoot to watch.

What keeps you awake at night?

Not having something finished. If I know I have a lot of things to do on my to do list it keeps me up and I start to think what I need to do for the next day. It gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Do you have a question to put to our editors? Let us know in the comments below!