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Samantha Laura Kaye: blogger, baker, mover and shaker

Samantha Laura Kaye’s name is a mouthful. But so is her range of talents. An actress, MC, public speaker, model, hair- and makeup-artist, and blogger, you’re sure to have seen or read her work. If you’re in Cape Town, you may even have fallen in love with her cupcakes.

So who is the person behind the multi-hyphenated career description?

“I wear my heart on my sleeve – both at home and in public,” she reveals after her photoshoot for TFG Man. “I think most people don’t realise how sensitive I am, how bothered and worked up I get about the ‘bad’ in the world.”

But she also knows how to have fun. She’s said in the past: “People say I’m crazy – but I have genuinely good intentions.”

It’s hard to disagree, especially when during our chat she charmingly reveals that she pays car-guards in cupcakes and once lived in a box built into a windmill in Bathhurst.

Beautiful women often say their looks make it more difficult for them to be taken seriously. Do you find that?

I don’t feel my looks prevent people from taking me seriously. When people hear I model they often make assumptions about my intelligence or my priorities, but I feel that after having a conversation with me most people can see I’m a smart girl with a broad spectrum of interests. Sometimes it can work to one’s advantage to be underestimated.

So what’s the biggest misconception people have about you?

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that life is and has always been easy for me, that I grew up popular and beautiful with a silver spoon in my mouth. The reality is that I was bullied and teased in school for being overweight and nerdy, I come from a complicated and difficult family background, and I buried most of my family at an early age. I don’t have a trust fund, I didn’t receive an inheritance and what I do have I have built from scratch, walking, catching trains, counting pennies and persevering.

Still, even if they’re not aware of your back story, people who read your blog or follow you on twitter feel like they know you. Can that make for strange interactions?

It can be weird when someone recognises you and is excited to see you – and you have no idea who they are and so aren’t as excited to see them. It becomes awkward when I am in a quiet space or when I want to be alone with my thoughts, but I am honoured that these people value my thoughts and opinions enough to follow me on twitter and read my blog. Without them I would not be so successful. The marriage proposals are weird but amusing – especially when they are in broken English.

You’re also putting yourself out there when modeling. Has working in hair and make-up helped you in front of the camera?

Working behind the scenes helped me hugely. I experienced models who were difficult and models who were easy to work with. I learned the bigger picture and saw firsthand how integral every single person on set is to making a still or moving picture work. All of this knowledge has been an incredible gift, and has shown me what kind of model/actress I would like to be, and has also made me appreciate and feel grateful for every person on set. There is always the danger of feeling like a “princess” when one models, and princesses grow up to become divas more often than not; I am so grateful that I can see the bigger picture.

Is there any one secret to looking good on camera?

There are a few tricks regarding one’s pose and angles of the body, but the most important thing is to think the right thoughts. If you feel uncomfortable, it will show in the photo, so try to embrace the moment and think of something that makes your eyes light up when someone brings out a camera.

How do you manage to juggle your various careers and still find time for yourself?

It is very challenging and there are times when I drop the ball or feel like I am drowning under the weight of it all however I am fortunate enough to be following my dreams which means that the time I am putting into these activities, these careers is for myself.

Is there any one you would prefer to focus on?

Acting has always been one of my greatest loves. I wish there were more film opportunities for actors in Cape Town. I would also love to have my own cooking show or to find myself in a more permanent presenting role.

You’re also involved in a number of charities. How did that come about?

I want to make the world a better place. Any opportunity I have to use my “fame” or my skill set to make the world a happier, smilier place I will grab with both hands. If people care about what a local celeb is wearing, we can hope they will also start to care about the meaningful causes they spend their time publicising.

When a charity approaches me I imagine I am a millionaire and ask myself if I would be willing to donate to them.

I have had so many “angels” help me along the way with my path and I have felt such gratitude – not only for their actions or words but also for their role in reaffirming that the world is the beautiful place I believe it to be. I want to do the same for people.

You don’t like cakes but you do enjoy baking them for people – and for charity. Why?

I love the science of food – altering the flavour or texture of it chemically. As a young girl baking was a kind of “magic” that I was able to share with my mum, who was working full time and doing her Masters degree in the evenings. Baking and gardening were what we shared on the weekends and they are both very close to my heart.

Of course it’s often said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Do you have a specialty that’s guaranteed to win over any man?

Any man? I hate generalising but I think most South African men are impressed by my braai skills, but generally the feedback I get from the men in my life is that the attention I play to my flavour pairings win men over. I generally wow them with a sandwich – it’s easy to exceed expectations with an unassuming sandwich that is amusing and exciting to one’s mouth.

And what is it that you look for in a man?

I look for respect and what is inside. Looks fade, I want the man I spend my time with now to be of equal value to me one day when I am old and grey sitting on a porch watching my grandchildren play. I look for humour, good conversation, intelligence, kindness and a warm heart. I don’t want to feel I am appreciated for my looks, I want a man who can see my heart.

  • This article originally appeared in Man, the men’s lifestyle magazine of the Foschini group. (Image: Neal Tosefsky)

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