Martha Stewart needs no introduction, but I’ll still give it a shot. Born and raised in New Jersey, the domestic doyenne began modeling in her teens, working for brands from Chanel to Unilever. (In fact, that’s how she paid her way through school at Barnard.) After college, she had a stint as a stockbroker on Wall Street before starting a catering business in the mid-seventies, which set her on the path to become the iconic tastemaker we’ve all come to know and love.
Since then, she has built a veritable media empire, penned dozens of best-selling books, snagged countless awards, and even become America’s first female self-made billionaire. In recent years, Stewart has gotten playful with her image, striking up an unlikely friendship with Snoop Dogg, posting break-the-Internet glimpses into her life on Instagram, and even poking fun at herself with pitch-perfect cameos and campaigns. Here, she chats about her latest projects, her proudest accomplishments and her advice for living the good life.
What is a day in the life of Martha Stewart like?
There’s never a typical day, but I do wake up quite early — I have no shades on my windows, so I usually wake up with the sunrise, around 5 a.m. — and I enjoy staying quite busy, whether in my office or on the farm. Those are the two consistent aspects of my days.
Looking back on your decades-long career, what highlights stand out for you?
The hard work that has been done and continues to be done at the Martha Stewart Center for Living in New York City stands out for me. Especially during these trying times, their work is more vital than ever, and I am so proud to be a part of such a charitable place working to change medicine.
You’ve built a bona-fide empire and have new business ventures cropping up all the time. At nearly 79, how do you do it all?
I think my secret is that I’m always learning and trying to absorb more information. My curiosity has never stopped, and it keeps me going in my life and in my business.
Earlier this year, you partnered with California Closets on a beautiful modular closet line. What inspired this collaboration?
I was turning one of my bedrooms into a closet and decided to work with California Closets. We installed the most beautiful closet, and it ended up being one of the most popular features in Martha Stewart Living. That was the inspiration behind the collection and the start of our partnership together, which resulted in the brand’s first-ever modular closet system.
You also just debuted a massive Wayfair brand shop, with products based on your four homes — Bedford, Lily Pond, Perry Street and Skylands — and the lifestyle each of them embodies. How would you describe the distinct personalities of these four properties?
Each of my homes is very different. I love the wide expanses of land, all the different animals, and the whimsical charm that can be found on my farm in Bedford. I enjoy spending summers out East embracing the coastal lifestyle of Lily Pond. I love the urban hustle and the modern aesthetic that can be found in my home on Perry Street. And I like to escape the world in the late months of summer and go on hikes near my Skylands home in Maine, where my taste in interiors is perhaps its most traditional.
You’ve struck up an unlikely friendship with Snoop Dogg, and the two of you host Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party together. What have you learned from him?
Snoop has taught me so much about music and culture that I would never be privy to otherwise. He is extremely knowledgeable, laid-back, smart and a good businessman. We have a lot of fun together.
Lastly, what advice do you have for those of us hoping to live the good life?
Look for opportunities around you and start with your own expertise, whether it’s your vocation or avocation. If you’ve always loved art, channel that passion and knowledge into being a docent for a museum. Never before have so many people had so much knowledge and so much time to use it. Stick with it. Don’t give up. Defend your ideas, but be flexible. Success seldom comes in exactly the form you imagine it will.