The Best Throwback Photos of Martha Stewart
Many people don't realize that Martha wasn't always considering a career in media—after all, she majored in history as a student at Barnard College in New York City. At first, Martha launched her career by working as an institutional stockbroker on Wall Street: "The job taught me so much about what it takes to build a real business, a real company—a meaningful and useful enterprise," Martha recalled in a feature story about her life's work. But Martha also had plenty of experience in front of the camera by that time. Our founder had modeled during college, and there's plenty of glamorous (and fun!) photographs showcasing just how comfortable she was on set.
Martha's journey to launching her own media company isn't what many would consider conventional. She eventually left Wall Street; but not before she got married in the early 1960s and gave birth to her daughter, Alexis, in 1965. Before she ever dreamed of publishing cookbooks, Martha told Entrepreneur magazine that she first studied Italian, German, and French cuisine while on a modeling assignment in Europe in the early '60s. Her interest in cooking quickly turned into a passion, and she eventually founded a catering company out of the basement of her now famous Turkey Hill home in Westport, Connecticut. In a recent interview with Barney's, Martha shared that the recipes she developed as a caterer would eventually be featured in her very first cookbook, Entertaining, in 1982.
From her youth to opening a catering company and forming what's now known as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, we're sharing the greatest photographs of Martha along the way.
Here, Big Martha hoists our founder onto her hip. Martha was born into the Kostyra family in 1941. She has shared that Big Martha inspired her throughout her life; in 1983, she dedicated the Martha Stewart's Quick Cook cookbook to Big Martha. "To my mother, Martha Kostyra, and her mother, my early teachers," the dedication reads.
Martha has previously shared this family photo with Living editors: It shows her entire family sitting for a formal photograph, including her five siblings and parents, Edward and Martha Kostyra.
Easter in Central Park
Holidays were always celebrated to much fanfare in the Kostyra family. "When I was growing up, my family celebrated every holiday with great enthusiasm," Martha recalls. "For Easter, we would dress up, go to church, and then venture off on an excursion. When I was about 3 years old, my parents took me rowing in New York City's Central Park. To this day, I love sharing the joy of special occasions with family and friends."
"I love this photo, taken by my father when I was about six years old with his old Rolleiflex camera in natural light," she says. "As a small girl, I often cut flowers from our garden to make arrangements for my mother. I still look forward to putting together different combinations every spring."
Martha's First Job
Martha told Living editors that she began modeling professionally in high school; eventually, she would appear in fashion editorials and fashion shows.
Martha also appeared in advertising campaigns throughout her 20s. She modeled for brands such as Breck, Clairol, and Lifebuoy Soap, our founder has said.
Fashion on the Farm
Off to College
Martha attended Barnard College in New York City, where she studied architectural history, art, economics, and literature. "Having a formal education was extremely important when I was starting out," Martha shares in her personal timeline. "Even if one had no specific career path, a college degree, and even a graduate degree in law, architecture, or business were acknowledged advantages." Martha first posted this photo on her MySpace page.
Before she graduated, Martha married Andrew Stewart in 1961. Andrew was a student at Yale Law School at the time, and rather than buy her own wedding dress, Martha wore this beautiful gown that she made with her mother, she shares in her career timeline.
On Her Honeymoon
Our founder has always enjoyed traveling, and this snapshot was captured on July 2, 1961 during her honeymoon in the beautiful Vermont countryside. "What a long, long time ago this was! I was carefree and happy on the first day of my honeymoon, wearing a linen sheath I made for the trip," she reminisces. "We drove through beautiful Vermont in our yellow Mercedes-Benz 190. I still love to head out for a drive and explore. You never know what you'll discover."
Working 9 to 5
"After college, I got a job on Wall Street where I became an institutional stockbroker," Martha writes in this biographical piece.
After leaving Wall Street, Martha and Andrew bought property in Westport, Connecticut, and the home that would eventually become known as Turkey Hill. Here, Martha stands in her kitchen, a scene that would later be featured in her 1982 Entertaining guide.
"My assistant found this great photo of me in my library at Turkey Hill," Martha shares on Instagram.
Becoming a Mother
Cooking Up a Storm
Martha eventually left Wall Street to chase another dream: opening her catering business. "It wasn't until I left Wall Street that I discovered my true entrepreneurial bent," she writes. "I loved making things that would enhance everyday living. And I loved making money as a result."
Martha's First Book
Martha first published Entertaining in 1982, and the book became instantly popular before launching Martha into the mediasphere. "[This is] the original cover of Entertaining; the table is set with my grandmother's china, my mother-in-law's silver, 'Depression' glass goblets, and garden poppies," Martha told Living editors.
Taken in the summer of 1976, this fun photo captured Martha on the grounds of Turkey Hill, where she first began looking after her coop of chickens.
Martha first launched Living in the holiday season of December 1990. "By 1990, I was the 49-year-old mother of a grown daughter, a divorcée, and I knew that I was onto something big," Martha writes in this post about her journey. "I've been dubbed a 'late bloomer,' and I love the moniker. I published the first issue of Martha Stewart Living that year, and have been pursuing my dreams ever since."
Traveling Around the World
Here, Martha is pictured hiking in the beautiful Zion National Park while on a trip with Alexis for her 50th birthday—she writes that "Alexis and I love visiting these 'shrines' to nature."
Gracing the Small Screen
Martha later turned Living's success into her first television series, the Martha Stewart Living program, which launched in 1993.
Visiting the White House
Here's Martha accepting some of the first of her many awards—she's won nine Emmy awards since 1995 and has been nominated 18 times in the daytime category, according to IMDb.
"My original idea was that living is limitless," she once said in the February 1998 issue of Living. "It could be expanded and expounded upon, enlarged and extolled. Thirty years later, our mission still holds true: Making your life better every day is our goal."
Speaking of guests, Martha has hosted quite the cast of individuals on her television shows over the years. Here, she poses with actress and entrepreneur Jennifer Garner.
Cooking with Julia Child
Martha even hosted Julia Child, the spunky, all-American chef known for making French cuisine accessible to gourmet and home cooks around the globe with Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Our founder has also worked with Alice Waters, the face of farm-to-table cuisine, and Diana Kennedy, long associated with quintessential Mexican cuisine.
They're the best of friends now, but believe it or not, Snoop and Martha's friendship emerged out of a bowl of mashed potatoes when he appeared on the Martha show back in 2008. "Yeah, we were odd," Snoop shared in a recent Today interview. "But we fit right in. You know, cooking with Martha just seemed like the right space to be in."