What Martha Stewart Did Before The Fame

Odds are, you've heard of Martha Stweart. The domestic entrepreneur and media mogul has been dishing out lifestyle advice to the public since 1982 when, according to PBS, she published her first book, Entertaining. Since that time, Stewart has been busy publishing 145 books (as listed on Paperback Swap) and two magazines (Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings), creating a line of home decor, kitchen goods, and furniture (via the Martha Stewart website), and producing eight television shows, according to IMDb. Stewart, though, lived a full and interesting life well before she settled into her role of tastemaker and entertaining guru. 

Biography notes Martha Stewart was born on August 3, 1941, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her parents had six children, with Stewart being the second oldest. According to Business Insider, Stewart had a brief career as a model, starting at the age of 15 and continuing through college. Biography states that Stewart graduated from Barnard College in 1962 with a degree in European and architectural history. It was around this time that she met her ex-husband Andy Stewart, who was studying law at Yale. The two married in 1961, and had one child, Alexis.

Martha Stewart had many careers before becoming a lifestyle maven

According to People, after graduation, Martha Stewart became a stockbroker working on Wall Street. The family lived in New York City until 1972, when the couple decided to move to Westport, Connecticut. Once there, Stewart threw herself fully into restoring the old farmhouse they moved into and decided to give up her job on Wall Street in favor of staying home. 

Eventually, she became restless and put an advertisement in the paper offering her services as a caterer. She soon opened a catering company with business partner and old friend Norma Collier, which they named Uncatered Affair. Ultimately, the two had a falling out, and the business ended. In 1987, Stewart and then-husband Andy hit a rough patch and separated, eventually filing for divorce three years later. Stewart said optimistically of the unpleasant and prolonged situation, "The life I had is over, and what has taken its place is better." 

This launch into catering marked the beginning of Stewart's career in media, with Stewart's website explaining that after her first book's success, she knew she was embarking on an exciting new adventure. In 1990, at the age of 49, Stewart published the first issue of her eponymous magazine, Martha Stewart Living, establishing herself as a household name and trusted source for all things domestic.