Everyone's heard that classic ice breaker: "If you could have a dinner party with any three guests, dead or alive, who would they be?" Typical responses might include Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Picasso, Queen Victoria... But my number one, without a doubt, is Martha Stewart. As a 20-something college student, most of my peers are confused by this choice, and I’ll admit I sometimes feel isolated in my… fascination? “Fascination” is good, but too impersonal. “Love”? Not strong enough. “Obsession”? Too creepy. I think “adoration” is most accurate. Now let me tell you why.

Martha: the OG Renaissance Woman

Gardening, cooking, baking, organizing, cleaning, decorating, philanthropy, pet care, crafting… Is there anything Martha can’t do? What I appreciate most is that she seems to prize doing it all with intention, care, and effort. Otherwise, what’s the point in doing it? Perhaps I’m injecting some personal values into my image of Martha, but slacking off just doesn’t seem like something she would tolerate.

A Self-Made Woman

Martha had humble beginnings, and was born to a large working-class family in New Jersey. Her entrepreneurial spirit was present early on, from modeling in her teens, to studying history and architectural history at Barnard, to becoming a working wife and mother. Combining her lifelong passions for celebrating, cooking, and organizing, Martha started a catering company which became a booming success, thanks to the gourmet product quality and efficient business management. Next came books, magazines, television shows… and the rest is history. Aside from the whole insider trading scandal that landed her in prison (hey, nobody’s perfect), Martha has proven to be quite the savvy businessperson. She expertly integrates her name with profitable brands like Marley&Spoon, Macy’s, and Food Network. Cleverly, Martha’s product lines of crafting tools, furniture, kitchenware, and more, are directly advertised in her magazines to millions of devotees.

The Spunk

In spite of her clean-cut presentation, spunk is not lost on Martha. She speaks her mind, usually earning some flack in the process. Humorous sass has defintely become her trademark. Martha made headlines in 2019 after commenting on pictures of Felicity Huffman’s new prison attire, saying, “Well, she should style her outfit a bit more. She looked pretty schlumpy.” Martha was even an honored guest at Justin Bieber’s 2015 birthday roast, and the ironic contrast between her outward comportment and gut-busting savagery made it all the more amusing.

She’s BFF’s with Snoop Dogg

Have you seen their Potluck Party cooking show? I challenge anyone to invent a more unlikely yet entertaining duo. She’s got lots of other fun friends too (Claire Danes, Diana Ross, Conan O’Brien), and birthdays of the nearest and dearest are consistently remembered in the Martha’s Calendar section of Living (isn’t she thoughtful!). Will mine be featured one day? I can only dream…

The Art of Living

I’ve often been asked why I love Martha so much. For whatever reason, some people have their doubts about her. However, I will fiercely defend her name, pointing to the rare and exceptional value at the core of her empire: making the simple act of living a thing of beauty. Some might say the Martha Stewart lifestyle is founded in frivolity -- D.I.Y. napkin holders, party decor, how to organize your pantry. But these are the very things that make mundanity magical. Sure, we don’t all have the time, money, or [blissful] circumstances needed to prepare a fabulous five-course dinner using the harvest from our multi-acre farm in Bedford. But we can put an effort into respecting and renewing the daily onus of being, imagining fun and creative ways to turn the everyday into something special. And this is what Martha inspires us to do.  

Martha Stewart 3 Shankbone Metropolitan Opera 2009

david_shankbone on Flickr