Martha Stewart
Businesswoman, publisher, media personality
Born: August 3, 1941, in Jersey City, New Jersey
Grew up in: Nutley, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2018: Enterprise

Say the name “Martha” and you can only mean Martha Stewart, the businesswoman and style maven who for two decades beginning in the early 1990s helped mold the contemporary American lifestyle through her ubiquitous media presence.

Born Martha Kostyra, the daughter of school-teacher mother and pharmaceuticals-salesman father, Martha earned spending money as a young girl by babysitting for the children of New York Yankees legends Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. By the age of 15, she began modeling for clients like Chanel and Bonwit Teller. Her drive for success was already evident when she was a student at Nutley High School.

“It was very important to me to be an all-around student,” she told New Jersey Monthly in 2011. “I was pretty centered on being smart and well-read and had a lot of hobbies.”

Martha attended Barnard College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in history and architectural history. Before her 20th birthday, she married Yale law student Andrew Stewart; their marriage would end in divorce in 1990. After college, Martha began her career in business as a stockbroker, then became a caterer and manager of a gourmet food store.

After catering a book-release party for Crown Publishing Group, Martha was offered her first book deal. “Entertaining” was published in 1982 and was followed over the next decade by eight more books of food and entertaining ideas. Martha also wrote magazine pieces and became a regular on the TV talk-show circuit. In 1990, she developed her own magazine, Martha Stewart Living, with Time Publishing Ventures. A syndicated TV show by the same name followed, running from 1993 to 2004.

In 1997, Martha consolidated her brands under a new company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The company went public two years later. As the company’s stock soared, Stewart, who served as chairwoman, president and CEO, became a billionaire—at least on paper.

The bubble burst for Stewart in 2004, when she was convicted of felony charges relating to the highly publicized ImClone Systems stock-trading scandal; she spent five months in a federal prison. Despite her tarnished reputation, Stewart made a remarkable comeback. She returned to daytime TV with “The Martha Stewart Show,” published additional books, and became a regular contributor on NBC’s “Today,” sharing her ideas about cooking, crafts, and gardening.

By 2012, Martha had regained the chairwomanship of her namesake company. Meanwhile, the Martha Stewart brand was being licensed for various lines of housewares, floor coverings, craft items, frozen food, wine, and other everyday consumer products. With her frequent TV appearances, she remains an iconic arbiter of good taste and home design.

Intro/Acceptance Video