Hi! My name is Cassie and I'm from the USA – Seattle, WA to be exact, but I’ve been living here in New Zealand for 8 years now. My current occupation is a desk dweller (I work in e-commerce) but my background has primarily been working within the hospitality industry – for 17 years! With hospo being such a huge part of my life, I still find it hard to step away and find myself slinging coffees at the cafe I used to work at most weekends. Creatively, I have a podcast that I host and produce called: Hospo Bimbo. Most recently, I’ve fallen in love with also filming mini vlogs with a strong focus on coffee, travel, and eventually incorporating run and gun style footage from the podcast.
How did you get into / what inspired you to get into podcasting?
I’ve always been an introverted extrovert, which has been a struggle (to say the least) the majority of my life. You’re super outgoing, but also really shy. You have all these great ideas and dramatic creations itching to come out, but simultaneously don’t want to cause any attention to yourself. Throw some self-doubt in there and now we’re really cooking with gas.
I really wanted to create, but didn’t think I was good at anything. I remember being a sophomore in high school and discovering Anthony Bourdain’s show ‘No Reservations’ for the first time on the travel channel. I was in awe and felt such a strong connection with our similarities, both personality wise and working in the hospitality industry. It was the first time that I looked at my diner job through a new lens – Anthony made it cool and was living out my utopia. I had found my idol. I binged his show, read Kitchen Confidential a dozen times and decided I wanted to do what he did.
Fast forward to turning 30, something clicked and I decided I wasn’t going to push out my dreams anymore. I wanted to take my years within hospo and somehow create something from it. I wanted to tell stories through a microphone of the people I met and funny little things that would happen on shift. Most particularly, I wanted to interview women in diners, as the two women that trained me at my first diner were very influential to me. The idea was to travel around the states, frequent diners, and get as many women on the podcast as I possibly could. It could curb my travel bug and the itch to storytell. But then – Covid happened. This unfortunately put my road trip back home on pause, and caused me to shift my plan to instead interview the hospo kings and queens right here in New Zealand. In hindsight, the order of these two events panned out exactly as they should have. I found something I was completely in love with.
How would you describe your work / what do you intend to achieve with your work?
Hospo Bimbo is always evolving. Initially, it started out with little old me with a cute little USB mic and not an ounce of a clue as to what I was doing. "You mean I don’t just turn on the microphone and speak into it?" I had to quite literally YouTube everything. I didn’t know anything about the equipment I needed or how to edit in post. Don’t even get me started on getting the podcast out into the world… needless to say, I had to start from scratch and had a lot to learn.
I really got the hang of it throughout the first year and genuinely enjoyed the process of it all. Had a lot of trial and errors (strong emphasis on the error part) but bobbed my way through and learned a heck of a lot! I slowly built out my tech kit (thanks Rubber Monkey) and continued to devote time into the learning process. Just when I thought my interest would stop at podcasting, I then grew a huge fascination with filming. I decided I wanted to incorporate a video element into my storytelling game and wanted to include not just hospo, but also travel, which has always been a strong driver for everything I do. This resulted in me buying a Sony A7C from of course – Rubber Monkey.
I started filming my coffee rituals and travel vlogs, in hopes that I could become an ‘expert’ before getting a camera on set of the podcast. I don’t know why, but I was so drawn to making videos. As soon as I picked up that camera and started recording, I was in love and could finally start to see how I wanted Hospo Bimbo to evolve. I wanted to incorporate more elements of the interview process aside from starting off the journey with sitting in a room with a couple of microphones and my guest. I wanted a more personal experience - footage of a restaurant, the journey to site, food, coffee - anything to tell the story better. It was an exciting moment!
What / who are your main influences and inspirations?
Anthony Bourdain has and will always be a strong influence for me on the travel side of documenting and storytelling. His passion for food and connections with the people behind it was such an inspiration to me at a young age and something I'll carry with me always. Another new inspiration I discovered this last year is Scottie Finanger - the owner of Wild Fly Productions. He’s a hobbyist fly fisherman who started filming his fishing trips back in 2013 and loading them onto YouTube. That somehow feels like an understatement. Wild Fly now produces stunning films showcasing not only fly fishing, but also follows four close friends travelling to remote parts of the USA in a converted bus, just to get outdoors and completely reset through adventure. Check it out.
Are you currently working on any projects?
Right now, I'm really trying to build out my YouTube channel before jumping back into the podcast. I’m heading back to America (finally) in a couple of weeks and will be there for 2 months, so I'll be taking all of my podcasting and filming gear to get a weekly vlog filmed and also hit up some diners for the podcast - stay tuned!
Where I’ve struggled is sticking to a niche. I’ve given up trying to put myself in one box on that channel. Sometimes I'll film a camping trip, sometimes it’s the process of a morning brew - or maybe it’s a vlog. The fact remains, I love to storytell and I’ll do whatever feels right in that moment.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I’ll never forget the first episode of Hospo Bimbo that I aired. The amount of stress I had leading up to it with all the tech difficulties, the pressure from the hype I was trying to build for it.. It was a mess. But when it finally uploaded and people started listening, wow. That was magic.
Another major accomplishment, honestly just committing and actually creating my podcast. Stepping out of my comfort zone and turning off the ‘caring about what others think’ switch. It's been an uncomfortable journey at times, learning to let myself really be me and unleash the unfiltered side to create. But now, it's opening up doors, it gives me so much joy and energy and most importantly - purpose. I feel like I’m really being me here and there isn’t a boundary in sight. It’s opened up new interests like filming and sound design, and I’m sure many more to come. I’m so proud of myself for not giving up on the first roadblock and continuously putting in the work to build out this dream.
Do you have any other hobbies/interests?
I love making coffee and having it as my daily ritual. Nothing quite beats waking up in the morning and making a brew out of Chemex at home, or maybe an AeroPress on a beach while camping. I’ve made it a mission to document these small moments at home that ultimately set up my day and my mindset. It’s my safe place and it's a beautiful half hour to myself. Filming it really sheds light on that romanticism and I'd like to give more attention to the other small moments like these. I really miss international travel as nothing beats wandering to a place you’ve never been and documenting the journey.
What is your best advice for someone interested in your field?
My advice is actually to anyone who was in my shoes, not deemed ‘in the field’ but as a complete beginner - just go with it. You’re going to feel like a completely lost lunatic trying to figure out what seems to be the simplest of tasks to start your project, but I can promise you, it is so insanely rewarding to finally get the hang of it and start creating without barriers. There’s a reason you have an interest here. Follow it. Remember that the learning never stops and the moment you allow yourself to genuinely enjoy the process, the more fulfilment you’ll feel.
Check out more of Cassie's work here!