Cake Decorator of the Month July
- What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A toasted piece of sourdough with salted butter and half an avocado with lemon and za'atar :)
- How long have you been Cake Decorating for?
12 years! Time really does fly
- Why did you choose Cake Decorating?
When I decided to stop modeling I had to choose a career path. At the time I was torn between being a hair stylist or a cake artist. I went and took a tour of a culinary school in Atlanta, Ga (where I’m from) and was absolutely mesmerized when I saw the instructor flat ice a cake. It was just so magical and impressive to me. When I was in the fashion industry I would often bring baked goods to set, or bake them afterwards as an escape. When you work as a model, you’re constantly being picked apart for every little thing..the clothes don’t fit..your hands look big..your face is weird..anything that can be a thing, was a thing. But in baking, I found an escape..a release that let me show up for others that had nothing to do with anything physical and it pretty much always resulted in a positive response. I decided to leave an industry that wasn’t bringing me joy and went towards something that gave me peace and confidence. I chose to do what made me happy and left me feeling creatively fulfilled.
- In times of doubt, what do you do to get back into your creative zone?
Whenever I’m feeling like I’m in a funk..my default move is always..just get outside. I’ve struggled with burnout a few times in my life and even though I’ve acquired some tools to counteract those feelings, there are times where I just feel off..and feel weaker than I want. In those moments, just being barefoot outside in nature, is the most healing and inspiring thing. My life was forever changed a few years ago when I realized the power of mediation. So now, in moments where I’m feeling a certain way or not creatively inspired .. rather than judge those feelings.. I welcome them when they arise. Being completely open to learning whatever it is life is trying to teach me in those moments. Usually those feelings come up when I need to rest or shift my focus to something new. We are in a constant state of ebb and flow and I’m grateful for the moments of discomfort because there is just so much to learn.
- Where did you learn your Cake Decorating skills?
I am a culinary school drop out. Not really by choice..more of necessity. I was in school and when it came time to go into the next semester..I wasn’t approved for financial assistance and I didn’t have a cosigner. So, I had to stop going. If that happened now..you better believe I’d find a way to make it work. I just didn’t have this grit back then…or maybe I just didn’t want to be in school.
I got jobs in the industry and learned all I could from each experience, and then moved onto the next. I never stayed in one place for too long. I worked in bakeries of all sizes, cupcake shops, grocery stores, catering halls, fine dining restaurants, country clubs and then transitioned into TV working as a Culinary Producer and Food Stylist.. I would watch YouTube videos and study cake decorating books until I would fall asleep. I had this innate entrepreneurial spirit which helped to propel me to a level of life I never knew or thought was possible for me. I would make cakes for anyone who needed one..every cake back then cost $100..cakes that would take me days to make, And years ago when I raised my prices to a $300 minimum it was such a milestone for me. It’s hard being in a situation where you’re being pushed to put a value on your own worth. Your craft. Especially when you come from the former camp of low self esteem and a house where money was intimidating. While my minimum has increased significantly since then, It took me a very long time to have an honest, open conversation with myself and to accept that I was worth every penny I was charging. I look back on my journey, being so afraid to charge someone for a creation of mine to proudly being able to confidently stand by my rate and to respectfully decline orders without guilt if it’s not a good fit. The learning never stops either .. every time I work with someone new, I learn something new. There’s always new trends, new products and new experiences to be inspired by. Try them all.
- What is your typical day like, what does it entail?
Every day is different! Regardless of what the day holds, I wake up and just say ’thank you’ …I feel lucky to open my eyes each morning and be in a healthy, encouraged state. I believe it’s that simple gratitude which continues to foster this life of magic.
I usually get out of bed, stretch, wash my face, brush my teeth, give myself a high five in the mirror (thank you Mel Robbins) and have a morning dance party with my daughter when she’s at my house. Then we’ll go downstairs, I’ll make us breakfast and get started on whatever is on the calendar for that day. Maybe it’s prepping for a cake design, recipe testing, working on set, trying out a new idea, going for a hike, creating art, planting seeds for the future..there’s always emails. So. Many. Emails. My schedule is in constant flux as a freelancer..there’s very little consistency and I travel a lot. Plus, I wear many different hats which keeps things exciting. So in the sweet, fleeting moments where there’s not much going on and I can wake up with my baby girl, and dance until the world comes in..those are my absolute favorite.
- We know Edible Art Paint is a medium you use, what do you love about it?
I’ve been using these paints and powders for years. I love using a product that I can always depend on. A product that’s consistent and reliable and the color spectrum that’s available is unmatched. I love knowing that whatever vision I have in mind will only be elevated by a product that’s so wonderful. Plus..being a fellow female owned business makes me love them even more.
- What is your #1 piece of advice for the newbies in Cake Decorating?
It’s so hard to find your voice in an industry that seems oversaturated..just know that you are completely original and unique and even if another person you admire is doing something similar, know that you are different and have the space to be your own person. Give credit where credit is due and know that we are all stronger and better with a good team behind us. Find where you can delegate to make your life easier and make your art shine even more and don’t ever take that support system for granted. It’s a marathon..not a sprint. It takes time to build your name and create relationships…don’t burn any bridges and just be a nice person and always just follow your passion. The rest will work itself out :)
- Who is your inspiration in the Cake Decorating world - name three (TAG THEM)
Elisa Strauss - her book ‘confetti cakes’ was the first cake decorating book I ever bought for myself. I was hooked.
Joshua John Russell - he’s a dear friend of mine and has been an inspiration and mentor of mine for years. His talent and work ethic is unmatched and he’s a hilarious person with a huge heart.
Colette Peters - I’ll never forget walking up to her former shops windows and just being in awe of the cakes she had on display. I vividly remember thinking..I want to be that good one day.
- Who is your inspiration outside of the Cake Decorating world. List three.
My daughter Chloe. She inspires me daily, just by existing, to keep working hard towards my dreams. I always want to show her by my own example, what’s possible when you follow your passion with your whole heart.
Sophia Amoruso - a bad ass who built an empire from the ground up and after life got in her way..shook it off and kept going. I respect anyone who works through a ‘failure’ only to come out stronger on the other side.
Mel Robbins - she’s an esteemed author, public speaker and life coach who I recently had the pleasure of meeting. She’s real, honest and humble. She's dedicated her life to encouraging people to take back their power and their voice and to realize the incredible potential we all have inside of ourselves.