I remember my mom watching her on the television when I was a kid. I had forgotten about her. But then I saw a commercial for Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party on VH1 and I was reminded of her omniscient presence.
Martha Stewart. When was the last time you took a good hard look at the woman who taught you’re mother, and perhaps even grandmother, about wrapping a turkey in puff pastry or staking tomato plants with old Yves Saint Laurent leg stockings. It seems the domestic goddess of yesteryear is currently on the back burner, being served as a second course to a group of lifestyle mavens that have collectively suckled her pioneering nipple only to bite it hard and make own milk for themselves (Exhibit A – Gwyneth Paltrow).
You may find it weird that I, a 23 year old straight male, is writing a blog post about Martha Stewart. You would be right. It is totally weird. But during my daily doldrums of asking myself the wonderful question of, “what the fuck am I going to actually do with my life?” I decided to turn to the woman who answered that very question everyday through a menagerie of mediums spanning from television to print. Her answers came in the form of color schemes, party themes, crafting ideas, and recipes, but they all spoke to the common core of offering a sense of purpose and meaning disguised in the guise of a simple task that often aimed for the very heights of perfection.
I am not looking for a delicious battle tested recipe for fresh Sunday morning beignets. I am not interested in learning how to paint a portrait of myself in glitter. What I am interested in is the woman herself – the teacher behind the lesson – and I must say, she is quite inspiring, intriguing, and damn right exhilarating.
No, I did not have a one-on-one exclusive sit down with Martha Stewart at her estate in Bedford. We did not sit in her chicken coop, pluck eggs, and watch her champion show dogs hump under mistletoe. What I did do, is watch her old interviews on Youtube with everyone from Charlie Rose to Morley Safer on 60 Minutes. I even watched a sit-down interview with her and Giuliana Rancic for god’s sake. If you’re wondering wether or not they are worth the watch, let me tell you, they are. Stewart is a force.
Sure, she was born white, relatively privileged, beautiful, and had brains to match, but she was and still is the epitome of a unique combination of hard-work, passion, unrelenting ambition, and an infectious ball busting drive. It is not so much what she says, but the look and feel of her that comes through the interviews. You can see just by watching her that she had zero doubt of her own greatness, capabilities, and destiny for success. It is perhaps this quality that I found most inspiring. It seems she needed nobody’s encouraging belief but her own to fuel her way through the mountains of bullshit and propel her from model, to stockbroker, to caterer, and to the eventual household name that we all now know her to be. All of this of course culminated (i.e. cratered) into a new identity of convicted felon. But her triumphant and unrelenting rise from those YSL and puff pastry laden ashes is an even bigger reason to take a second look at the woman who roasted Justin Bieber.
There are probably a hell of a lot more politically correct and certainly more relevant role models to have in this day and age. But I have to say, in my opinion, if more young men like me took life lessons from Martha Stewart we may not only learn to live like her, but also learn to live like real men in the first place. Martha, if you’re ever looking for a new personal assistant, I’ll be your bag boy any day of the week.