The guru of stylish living, Martha Stewart (1941-) was born Martha Kostyra on this day in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"My dream... was to be an eclectic knowledge-gathering person," she said.
A straight-A student, hard worker, and high achiever, Stewart was a successful model and stockbroker before operating a $1 million-a-year catering business from the basement of her home. Her first book, Entertaining (1982), celebrated beautifully-prepared food and elegant decor. It was an instant best-seller.
"Having something to dream about is very important to most people," Stewart once said. "My books are 'dream' books to look at, but they're also practical... What I'm really giving is... a reality that looks like a fantasy."
As chief executive officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she created a multimedia empire that analyst said generated revenue in 1999 of over $285 million. With an award-winning magazine Martha Stewart Living and Emmy Award-winning TV show, Stewart became a creative trend-setter in her field.
"Martha Stewart... (is) one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in our country's history," praised celebrity Rosie O'Donnell.
"Iím only trying to make peopleís lives a little more pleasing to them," Stewart explained. "I have the ideal career because I am constantly writing about or photographing things that I like."
To celebrate her "physically active and mentally engaged" mother, Stewart made a $5 million donation to Mount Sinai Medical Center where a geriatric center in her name opened in 2007. She said, "We all want to live for many, many years but itís important to have a good quality of life, too.Ē
Keep your standards high.