Mental Floss

5 Things You Didn't Know About Martha Stewart

Ethan Trex
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You know Martha Stewart as the crafts-and-cooking guru who has dominated print and broadcast media. You know her as the stockowner who ran into a bit of trouble with the feds. Today, let's look at five things you might not know about Stewart.

1. She Was a Model and a Stockbroker

From the time she was in high school through her days at Barnard College, Stewart had a relatively successful modeling career. She did some in-store work for Bonwit Teller, and she later did TV spots for Clairol and Tareyton Cigarettes. Her biggest exposure came in 1961, when Glamour magazine named her one of America's "Ten Best-Dressed College Girls." The modeling career ended when she married Yale law student Andrew Stewart in 1963.

In 1967 Stewart went back to work, but this time she took on Wall Street rather than the runway. According to a 2001 Vanity Fair feature, Stewart used her modeling experience to her advantage once she became a stockbroker, even going so far as to wear hot pants to meetings. She eventually became one of the only female brokers at Perlberg, Monness, Williams and Sidel, but she left in 1973 to spend more time with her daughter.

Another odd fact about Stewart's time as a broker: one of her fellow brokers was an up-and-coming actor named Brian Dennehy.

2. She Keeps Her Horses In the Dark

Stewart's Cantitoe Farm follows a strict aesthetic scheme: everything on the property is either gray or black. All of the buildings are gray, while all of the animals are black. Every sheep, cow, horse, and dog on the farm is black. There's only one problem with this rigidity, though—Stewart owns five black Friesian draft horses that will turn red when they're exposed to the sun.

According to a 2005 Vanity Fair profile, Stewart's horses got too much sun one summer and turned red. She was none too pleased with the affront to her color scheme, so she instructed the horses' grooms to keep them inside their stables during daylight. Once the sun goes down, the horses are free to run and play as they like.

3. She Wasn't Great at Being Under House Arrest

Your probably remember Stewart's prison hitch after being embroiled in an insider-trading scandal. What you might not remember is that she actually ended up spending more time in 2005 under house arrest than she had planned.

According to the terms of Stewart's house arrest, the domestic wizard was allowed out of her home in suburban New York for 48 hours a week for work, food shopping, medical appointments, and religious services. She was originally slated to spend five months in home confinement complete with an ankle bracelet that tracked her movements.

Stewart apparently decided these rules were not good things, though. She allegedly left home to attend a yoga class, and she also spent time motoring around her estate in a Kawasaki Mule off-road vehicle. In August 2005 her lawyer announced that she had agreed to spend an extra three weeks under home confinement as a result of these transgressions.

4. She Tried to Trademark a Town's Name

Katonah
Katonah /

Stewart also ran into heavy opposition from the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation. Katonah was named after one of the nation's chiefs, and the nation's representative said, "If it's being done for profit, then of course it's offensive."

As of this writing, everyone from the Katonah Village Improvement Society to Katonah Architectural Hardware Limited to Katonah Paint & Hardware, Inc. are appealing Stewart's right to trademark the Hamlet's name.

5. She's No Rachael Ray Fan

ray-stewart
ray-stewart /

Stewart quickly jumped into damage control mode and publicly made amends with Ray. On the next episode of her show, Stewart stood next to guest Emeril Lagasse and said, ""I truly believe that Rachael has done a terrific job bringing people — many people who would of never have even stepped into the kitchen or made a dish — to cook."

Ray later admitted that Stewart is more advanced in the kitchen than she is and said there were no hard feelings.

See more of Martha's modeling photos at ToryBurch.com. '5 Things You Didn't Know About...' appears every Friday. If there's someone you'd like to see covered, leave us a comment. You can read the previous installments here.

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