Cakes, Spring Silhouettes and a Maltese Named Ginger with Kate Sigel | The Realest
Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.
Having been up since 3AM (her normal wake-up time) and having spent hours at it before our photo shoot even began, Kate was still infectiously all smiles right through the end. It probably doesn’t hurt that her work-life revolves around making beautiful cakes and pastries all day. As the founder and owner of a specialty cake business, Sweet Tooth Cake Company, as well as executive pastry chef for the Huxley Wallace Collective restaurant group, Kate’s a busy woman! Fueled by more than just sugary confections, Kate is smart, passionate and inspired by anyone who shares the same ability to get so excited by whatever it is she or he loves doing.
We spent our day with Kate getting her into some of our favorite dresses for spring at her family friends’ gorgeous home on the waterfront. She was kind enough to bring us a vanilla cake to decorate with the most delicious grapefruit curd (!) between the layers all topped with vanilla-orange Italian meringue buttercream frosting (!!). We definitely all congratulated ourselves with a slice after wrapping up the shoot—which we made sure included at least one scene featuring the resident pup, a Maltese named Ginger, who probably ended up getting just as much attention that day from the crew as our seriously delightful model.
A day in the life: There really isn’t a “normal” day for me, but that’s a big part of what I like about what I do. I talk to clients for my cake business, come up with ideas for what they’re looking for and how to make it as custom and special as possible, then work on cakes. For the most part I can get into a rhythm with baking and making buttercreams and fillings, but my favorite part is the decorating.
It’s so much fun for me to see this idea or concept get translated from just an idea to a 3D, tangible thing. I don’t always sketch out ideas, as I like to be able to tweak the design a little bit as I’m working to make the best possible end result, so even I don’t know exactly what a cake will look like until it’s finished.
Clients often tell me, ‘I can’t wait to see the cake!’ And internally, I’m thinking, “I know, me too!”
Favorite things in my closet: I tend to be a sentimental pack rat. I have a pair of gloves a friend gave me years ago with holes in the thumbs and a backpack that was my mom’s in college—she sent away for a kit and sewed it together herself! It no longer zips but has literally been around the world with me. Also, jeans that are completely falling apart but fit me perfectly, and I can’t bring myself to get rid of them.
I have a few pieces of jewelry that belonged to my grandmothers that make me smile when I see them. My very favorite necklace is a locket on a long chain that holds squished-up sponge dinosaurs. My niece and nephew put them in there years ago, and every time I wear it, which is often, I do magic tricks and thrill them by pretending to pull dinosaurs out of their ears, noses and belly buttons.
My style is pretty simple. Boots or Chuck Taylors. I usually lean more toward a sort of boho vibe, with flowy tops paired with fitted pants. I have a thing for long necklaces and interesting bracelets. I’m a sucker for anything with a good story.
TRAPEZE DRESSES (Look 1)
On getting into baking: Originally, I went to school for interior design. Toward graduating, I realized that while I could probably make a living doing that, I really wasn’t passionate about it. I’d always wanted to love what I do. The way I see it, we spend so much time working or at work that if it’s not something that we enjoy, it’s an awful lot of time spent being miserable. I looked into pastry school because I had worked in the service industry and liked that world; the pace, thinking (and working) on my feet, that every day is different and constant interaction with a variety of people really appealed to me. Pastry seemed to be a good marriage of all those things, while still being a creative outlet. I took the leap and went to pastry school, and luckily it worked out well.
I started making cakes almost on accident. I made a cake for my sister’s baby shower, and guests kept asking if I could make one for them or for a friend of theirs. It sort of evolved on its own as I took more and more orders, and before I knew it I had a website, a business and more orders than I knew what to do with!
Best things about being a baker: There are a lot of things I love. For me, pastry is fun. It’s whimsical and playful and it seems that everyone has a connection or memory associated with desserts. It’s pretty cool that just by making a cake, I get to play a small part in someone’s happy memory. I love that at the end of the day, I can hold out this tangible thing and say, ‘This. This is what I have spent all this time and energy on.’ It just happens to be something that other people get to enjoy.
It sort of makes my heart wiggle when someone comes to pick up their cake and their face just lights up and they pull me in for a hug. We’re total strangers, but this thing I made them makes them want to hug me. Pretty awesome.
TRAPEZE DRESSES (Look 2)
At play: As goofy as it sounds, when I’m not making cakes, I’m making other pastries. I also work as the executive pastry chef for a restaurant group, Huxley Wallace Collective, so I spend a lot of time doing research and development, recipe testing and tastings. I literally get to eat dessert for work—my job does not suck.
When I’m truly not working I like to relax, hang out with friends, go to movies. I like to Netflix and chill, but not in the cool new sexpot way people use that phrase. I mean in the ‘I want to wrap up like a burrito on the couch and binge-watch all the shows’ way.
Favorite look of the day: Oh my gosh, I loved everything! I work in chef’s pants (basically the equivalent of Hammer pants/socially acceptable pajamas) and chef’s jackets that are somehow always huge on me, so getting dressed up was such a fun departure from that. Every dress the stylists brought out, I think I squealed a little and told them that ‘THIS one might be my favorite!’
I was immediately drawn to the white lace-pattern dress, and the purple heels. I love color, and would never have thought to pair the two and will definitely be incorporating that idea into my wardrobe. The floral dress with the leather jacket was somehow comfortable, sexy and fun all at the same time, and would be perfect for a night out. And I LOVED the sassy shoes with the white floral dress. Where have those been all my life? Really, every outfit—including bags and jewelry—were so great.
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Oil-in-Stick Lipstick in ‘Smoking Plum’ | Topshop stone rings
Watch our video with hair and makeup artist Jenny Verador for all the steps and products to recreate Kate’s clean and fresh look for spring.
Shop: Our Dress Spotlight