Introducing JB Woman Charlotte Ree. Charlotte is a passionate food lover and recipe developer. When she’s not creating magic in the kitchen, she is working with some of Australia’s biggest authors as Head of Marketing for a major book publisher. Charlotte exudes warmth and generosity, we spent the morning in her gorgeous Potts Point apartment chatting careers, love lives, food and fashion over the most delicious fudge brownies. With one book to her name Just Desserts and an exciting memoir in the works Heartbake, we can’t wait to follow Charlottes journey and attempt some of her heart-warming recipes.
How did your career journey start? Did you study marketing, and have you always loved books?
Straight out of school, I moved to Sydney (from Lismore) to study a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Journalism. Partway through my first year I was offered a three month contract as the Marketing and Publicity Assistant at a book publisher. Books were my be all and end all but I didn’t really know that there was anything behind a book except the author that had written it and the bookseller that had sold it to me. Starting my job that day felt like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia. When they offered me a full time job as Publicity Coordinator I didn’t hesitate and dropped out of university immediately. It took me almost two years to tell my mum.
Would you ever have envisioned your career taking the path it’s taken?
Never. There’s still a HUGE part of me that is still that nineteen year old stepping through the wardrobe, not quite believing her luck.
Your personal journey has become a big part of your new book Heartbake, at what point did you decide to write the book or was it really an organic process?
The idea first came to me when I left my marriage and then almost simultaneously entered our first lockdown. I remember standing in the empty kitchen of my new home, my first time living alone, and thinking that the only way to get through this heartache was to cook. That’s when I thought Heartbake. The book itself though was just an idea until November last year when I found a publisher, and it has been the heart and soul of my life ever since then.
I would imagine the visuals and graphics for the book are also a huge process, can you tell us how it all pieces together and if there’s any visuals that you were inspired by?
A HUGE part. Perhaps the most important part (after the words of course) is the design and the images. I can’t give too much away just yet but I can say that I am thrilled to have a publisher that is as much of a food lover as I am and between the two of us, and the extended talent of the publishing team, Heartbake is going to be a feast for the senses.
You’ve been so open and honest about your personal journey on social media, was it nerve racking when you first started sharing your story?
It was in a lot of ways. It was in some ways like my divorce coming out story. But I do not regret a thing. Being raw and real and vulnerable is the only way I want to be moving forward. It is a way to connect with people, to break down barriers and say hey, we are here, we are human, we all have a shared experience and more often than not, we can all relate to one another through food. That is why I started my supper clubs. Sharing food together is a shortcut to intimacy, I call it edible therapy.
I feel like you’re building a beautiful community and genuine following with your story and your books, do you have a vision of where you would like your career to go?
To be honest, no. Right now I am so focused on Heartbake (my upcoming food memoir) and Heartbake Bites (my supperclub) that it is hard to think beyond mid-next year. That isn’t to say I have dreams and aspirations, which I of course do. I want to cook and write and feed people and nurture and nourish people. And I want to do it all from the comfort of my own home, my happy place.
How would you describe your personal style, has it evolved over the last few years?
I would best describe my style as always dresses, never pants. Though a few jumpsuits have snuck in this year. I am quite curvy, so I am a huge fan of soft shapes that flatter my curves and gorgeous fabrics - linen and silk.
When and where can we get a copy of Heartbake and what are you most excited about upon it’s release date?
The most hyped book of 2022 - says me and only me. I swear I have been talking about this non-stop for months now but that is because it really has been all-consuming. I have spent so much time with the manuscript that I feel like I know it like a lover and a friend, but it in some ways it has become my (and my sleep schedule’s) worst enemy.
I am so proud of this book. I wrote it because when I went through my divorce there was nothing that I read that made me feel seen, or made me feel like I was going to be okay. I really cannot wait for it to land in the hands of people who may be going through something similar, for people to realise that you can rupture and repair. That you can begin again.
Charlotte wears Safari Jumpsuit, Piper Dress, and Workroom Jumpsuit.