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Meet our alumni: Legit classics – Alumna brings classics to the masses

Hughes Hall alumna, Jasmine Elmer (2004, PGCE Classics) has a mission to bring her love of classics to everyone through her new podcast Legit Classics.

Joined each week by special guests, (including Hughes Hall alumnus and broadcaster Bobby Seagull), Jasmine explores topics of wine, comedy, parenting and more, showing us how the Greco-Roman era isn’t as different from the modern world as you might think.

We spoke with Jasmine about her background and inspirations to find out more about why this podcast is so important to her.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I grew up in the East End of London on a council estate as an only child to a single mother. My father is Pakistani, and my mum a Brit, but she was born in Canada, so I am certainly international! Life wasn’t always easy when I was younger, but I am very proud of all aspects of my heritage and experiences. I went to state schools and then to UCL for my degree in the Ancient World. It was a bit of a random choice, but I am a bit of a risk taker!

Now, I live in Exeter with my husband, John Elmer, who I met at Hughes Hall, and our son Ted, who is 5.

What did you enjoy most during your time at Cambridge, and what surprised you most?

I went to Hughes Hall from 2004-2005 and I studied for my PGCE in Classics.

Honestly, I loved meeting new people! I made friends for life and even met my hubby there.

I was most surprised by how utterly glorious the various college buildings are – there is nothing more empowering than standing in one of them and realising you are part of its story. That experience has stayed with me.

How did Legit Classics come about? What inspired you to start this podcast?

I was working for a charity called Classics for All and I was asked to chat classics on a live radio show. I had never done this type of thing before and I was absolutely terrified! It did it, and found it to be a surprisingly natural experience.

The Chairman of the charity is Jimmy Mulville, of Hat Trick Productions and he offered me a podcast slot! I wanted to use the platform to reinvent the old-school approach of ‘how to do’ classics, so Legit Classics is my answer to this. I want to come to where the people are, which is why I choose to access the classical world through the modern.

How did your time at Hughes influence the creation of the podcast?

My podcast has teacher written all over it! So, my time at Hughes competing my PGCE is essentially the foundation of my work today.

There are a lot of people who might have never had the opportunity to study classics – why should people care about classics and what do you love most about it?

Care about the classics is care about yourself. These people aren’t separate to you they ARE you! Find your own personal connection by tracing the passion you have for something back into the ancient world.

Get curious. Abandon preconceptions.

I do this every day with classics; in fact, the thing I love the most is learning and discovering new things about my subject all the time.

You can find season one of Jasmine’s podcast, Legit Classics: With Jasmine Elmer Podcast, Hat Trick Productions, here: https://linktr.ee/legitclassicist

Jasmine has also made her TV debut in Lost Treasures of Ancient Rome with Channel 4 and National Geographic, and speaks at corporate events, talks, and public engagements. Find out more about her work here: www.jasmineelmer.co.uk/

Instagram: @legitclassicist

Twitter: @jasmine_elmer

Photo credit: Karla Gowlett

Date published: 28 August 2022