The Untold Truth Of Jackie Sorkin From Candified: Home For The Holidays

"Candified: Home for the Holidays" is a celebration of the season of joy — and of sugar! Led by none other than the Candy Queen herself, Jackie Sorkin, a team of experts attempt to build a fully-functioning holiday home out of candy. The show is a mad dash to the finish line, at times stressful, though with a constant undercurrent of holiday joy. It's a perfectly sweet show that pairs well with chilly weather and cozy times with the family.

So, who is Jackie Sorkin, and why is she leading this group of misfits to the candy-coated finish line? Sorkin is a renowned candy artist, event planner to the stars, business owner, and reality TV personality. Although her many hats are diverse, her candy crown is well earned — Sorkin tried to break into the business for 14 years before breaking through, but she took off like a rocket when she did. From her early struggles to finding sweet success, Candytopia to "Candyfied," read on to discover the untold truth of Jackie Sorkin.

She's the candy queen

Jackie Sorkin got her first nickname in the business after starting her catering company, Hollywood Candy Girls. A year into business, she told Cosmopolitan, clients started calling her "candy girl." "At first, I would get annoyed," she shared, "but then I thought it was cute. I wanted to make it an open, relatable brand." As she gained more and more success, Sorkin became a bonafide Candy Queen — she even gained a TLC reality show by the same title. She describes herself as, "a latter-day Latina Willy Wonka. But I'm also like Charlie, who won the Golden Ticket" (via The Orange County Register).

On a personal level, Sorkin is known for her positive and bubbly personality, as well as her ability to connect with others. When discussing why she loves being on TV, Sorkin said that although the money is not consistent, "It's another way for me to connect with people. Random chicks will come up to me at T.J. Maxx, and we'll start talking, and then we'll be crying," (via Cosmopolitan). She is also big on empowering others, telling Reality Tidbit, "I hope viewers are encouraged to create more, to dream big and to dare to be different." Jackie Sorkin is not the Candy Queen just because of her impressive artwork — her love of joy and of bringing people together is an essential component of her brand's success.

She's a natural businesswoman

Sorkin has always had a go-getter attitude, even when she was a little girl. According to the Los Angeles Times, she drafted her first business plan when she was just seven years old. The concept? A restaurant with 101 ways to serve chicken. Although she never implemented the plan (she could only come up with 21 recipes), she soon created, in her words, "a lemonade stand on steroids" (via Cosmopolitan). This stand featured several lemonade flavors and five different cookies. Sorkin even said that she would "take store-bought cookie dough in a variety of flavors and add extras to make them pop" in order to increase sales. 

Her creative personality has served her during many entrepreneurial endeavors, where she found niches and effectively filled them. From teaching herself to do makeup and charging $50 a pop come prom season, promoting Jewish Singles Weekends at New York City clubs, to a hip-hop dance class slash self-esteem session for girls, her many pre-candy ventures show her natural talent for business.

Sorkin aimed her focus on creating a variety of revenue streams. "My goal was always to diversify the channels of business," she told Cosmopolitan. Between her events business, international and domestic exhibits, TV, and online dessert sales, she has certainly achieved this objective. 

She has faced failure

While Sorkin likes to keep things fun and light, success did not come easy to her. Although she briefly attended college, she failed algebra seven times due to a learning disability and dropped out. She soon got a job working at the headquarters of her childhood summer camp in New York City, which she loved greatly, but was fired for getting distracted by boys and partying. Distraught but resolute, she moved home to California to refocus her intentions, becoming an event planner.

Even once she found her footing, Sorkin faced setbacks. Her initial foray into the events world was successful, but the entire industry came to a standstill after the 2008 economic crash. Although Sorkin still had some clients, she would plan entire parties for them, just to have them say they'd do it themselves for a cheaper price. Nothing was working, so as a side business, she even sunk thousands of dollars into a clothing line — which never panned out.

Luckily for Sorkin, her big break was just on the other side, but she had no way of knowing it at the time. In an interview with Reality Tidbit, Sorkin said, "I'm proudest of 14 years of never giving up, although I wanted to and could have numerous times. Just keep going — my mantra forever." Her story proves that our setbacks don't have to define us, and that it's always possible to pick yourself back up again after a big failure (or three, or four).

She got her big break as a dessert caterer

Sorkin rose to fame in the dessert world somewhat by accident. It all started with a Newport Beach local vendors showcase, where she went to man a booth for her burgeoning events company. Instead of going the traditional flyer route, Sorkin decorated her table with a spread of dazzling desserts. It turned out to be quite the hit. She had people flocking to her booth and soon was offered her first gig.

Sorkin told the Los Angeles Times that starting her business during the great recession was actually a key component to her success. "Americans were experiencing their biggest nightmare," she explained, "so I was going to make their sweetest dreams come true." Although the events industry as a whole slowed down, Sorkin's innovative new business was still able to become a smash hit.

Her joyful candy tables impressed everywhere she went, and soon enough, each event brought in a stream of new clients. Being in the Los Angeles area, it was only a matter of time until a celebrity got wind of her creations. Her first big-name client was Sephora, who hired her for a lip gloss launch with Kim Kardashian. Paris Hilton reached out to Sorkin soon after, cementing her reputation as the candy-event planner to the stars. Her sudden success even attracted the attention of TLC, who gave the entrepreneur her own reality show, "Candy Queen," which she describes as "a female version of 'Cake Boss.'"

She creates candy sculptures and events for A-list celebrities

Beyond Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, Sorkin has made candy creations for dozens of celebrities. According to the About Page of her event company, Hollywood Candy Girls, Sorkin has worked with Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber, along with brands such as Disney, FOX, and Sephora.  Needless to say, she's seen her fair share of high-profile contracts.

In an exclusive interview, Sorkin told Mashed what it was like to work with such famous clientele. Sorkin explained that celebs are either "quirky and funny and just like a little out of this world," or "really posh and super fabulous, where you're just like, 'Oh my gosh, I feel so insecure walking into your fabulous palace of a house. Amazing. Thank you for letting me pass security.'" It's nice to know that Sorkin remains humble despite her success, and that she's just as starstruck as the rest of us. She even said she was "just trying to be cool" when she worked with Katy Perry, adding, "​​'I'm the nerd who was like, 'I brought all your candy, Katy.'" Although she's the Candy Queen, Jackie Sorkin is just like us.

She has a traveling candy pop-up experience

After her show "Candy Queen" aired around the world, Sorkin began getting interest from international clientele. Her first contact came in 2012, when a Taiwan-based company hired her to create 40 pieces for a candy museum. The exhibit was a smash success, running for three years beyond her one year contract (via Arcadia News) and gaining her more pop-up exhibits across Southeast Asia and China.

Seeing how successful her exhibits were in Asia, Sorkin decided to move the operation Stateside. She opened her Candytopia pop-up exhibition in 2017 which would travel to 11 different cities, including, Scottsdale, Philly, and Los Angeles. Writing about the pop-up in 2018, Food and Wine described candy versions of classic works of art like Rodin's The Thinker, tactile exhibits like a ball pit filled with fake marshmallows (unfortunately, real ones wouldn't be sanitary), and, of course, plenty of free samples. They are bright, happy, celebrations of life and fun — it's no wonder people love them!

Sorkin's domestic exhibits proved just as popular as her international ones, and are still running today. As of December 2021, Candytopia is open in Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia, with plans for more locations in the near future.

She loves girl power

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jackie Sorkin admitted, "I'm a little corny — I'm all about girl power." She supports other women in the industry wholeheartedly, like the ladies behind the Museum of Ice Cream, arguably one of Sorkin's museums' biggest competitors. "I am so, so happy for them," she told Food and Wine, reiterating how she likes to see women achieving success even if they are in the same lane as herself. And Sorkin has always been this way — she even once started an empowerment group for Girl Scouts, way back before her candy days, where she would teach girl dances and lead talks on self-esteem.

In addition to supporting women, her business is unabashedly girly. Her sculptures are colorful, fun, and energetic, and her office is filled with pinks, purples, and glitter. She doesn't hide her femininity to fit in with the male-dominated food industry, and, if anything, she uses it to her advantage — in a 2012 interview, she said nearly 95% of her clients were women. Sorkin uses her girl-power approach to connect with her clients, giving life to girly aesthetics without dumbing them down or patronizing her customers. Her company is uniquely her, and her girl-forward attitude is a key to her success.

She struggled with food addiction

According to Jackie Sorkin, for most of her life, "Food was the tool I used to comfort myself." She was bullied for her weight for much of her childhood and even took to hiding in the bathroom during lunch to avoid bullies. By her early teens, she had enough, and pleaded with her parents to send her to a special summer camp — Camp Pennbrooke, which focuses on healthy eating habits, emotional support, exercise, and self-esteem building. The decision turned out to be a turning point for Sorkin, as her camp experience helped her begin healing her dependence on food. Sorkin described Camp Pennbrooke as "a safe, supportive, empowering environment" adding, "We related to each other on such a deep level because of our weight issues."

Although she continued to struggle with her food addiction for much of her life, Camp Pennbooke showed Sorkin that there were options out there for her healing. Eventually, her dad's cancer diagnosis kicked her journey into high gear, as she didn't want him to die without seeing her overcome her addiction. Luckily, Sorkin says, "I found the tool that makes sense for my life and I lost 100 pounds. I do really feel free now." As the Candy Queen, Sorkin of course still eats confections, and shows that healthful eating doesn't have to mean restriction or an absence of treats.

Her husband is incredibly supportive of her

Jackie Sorkin's husband Chris has never let her fame intimidate him. In fact, he quit his job as an engineer to help out with her business, which ended up being a great help to the Candy Queen. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Jackie told Mashed, "I love his engineering mind because he is able to do so many, really big, hard, complicated things for us, which I'm like, 'That's not my lane bro.'" Her creative energy and his practical mind balance each other perfectly, making them a great pair in business as well as in life.

The two met in New York the year that Jackie began working for Camp Pennbrooke. After she was fired, Chris decided to move to California with her while she attempted to start over. Since that first romantic gesture, he has more than proved himself as a supportive partner and a great addition to the Candy Girls team. Jackie and Chris have two children together, Isabella and Christian George (both of her kids even have candy-themed nicknames!).

She's no stranger to television

While Jackie Sorkin was a well-known name in the Hollywood events scene, her reality show, "Candy Queen," catapulted her to international fame. Premiering in 2011, the show was an inside look into Sorkin's hectic business life and the creation of her over-the-top displays. Sorkin was pregnant during filming, and the show highlighted how she balanced her changing personal life with her ever-growing business.

Her "Candy Queen" gig was only the beginning of her TV career. Since then, she held a series of guest judging spots, like on the "Chopped Junior" Halloween episode in 2016. Sorkin was also a guest judge on Netflix's "Sugar Rush," as well being one of three judges in the spinoff competition, "Sugar High." Rounding out her list of sugary shows, Sorkin has appeared on both "Cake Wars and "Dessert Wars," as well as "Unique Sweets."

The latest addition to Sorkin's hosting resume, of course, is Hulu's new "Candified: Home for the Holidays." The show opened to positive reviews, with Decider telling fans of "TLC-vibe reality shows," baking competition fans, and home makeover series to stream it immediately.

She loves the joy of candy

Jackie Sorkin's job gives her plenty to love, but her favorite thing? The joy her profession provides to others. Sorkin told Reality Tidbit that her "purpose" is "being The Candy Queen and creating experiences that encourage others to escape into a world of pure imagination and fun." Her popups and spreads are great for kids, who go candy-crazy at seeing their fantasies brought to life, but they're also a surprising escape for adults. Sorkin is able to pull even the most serious of grownups back into her world of fun and joy. Her infectious personality breaks down their walls, and her whimsical and impressive artwork seals the deal.

According to the Candytopia reviews, Sorkin's exhibits have achieved her goals of creating a "world where everyone belongs."  A Facebook user raved about his Candytopia experience, saying, "Took my kids on a weekend to have fun, But my wife and I also had so much fun ... I really recommend this place." Sorkin's big imagination is inspiring in itself. However, her vision of a place where everyone gets to experience joy is truly something worth dreaming of. Take a note from the Candy Queen and think big (and happy!).