Martha Stewart had just two months to prepare for her already iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover.
She increased her Pilates to three times a week, watched what she ate, and stopped drinking alcohol. “I had my usual facials, but maybe more often and spray tanned as well,” Stewart, who is nominated for three Daytime Emmys this year, tells me during a phone interview Tuesday. “And I’m not a hairy person, but I did get a full body wax.”
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At 81, Stewart made history as SI’s oldest swimsuit model.. A model in her early twenties, Stewart worked with legends like Richard Avedon. “When I was a model and posed all the time in swimsuits and sexy sports stuff, that’s the time I should have been on the cover,” she says before adding with a laugh, “But I wasn’t $75 an hour.” . model then. She was just a $50, $60 an hour model.”
Is this something you really could have imagined at 81?
It’s certainly sparked interest in many, many different places. I just received an email from Gayle King. She wrote: “Congratulations this is really cool. You look stunning, and blah blah blah. I replied: “Next year is your year”. She replied, “I never would have considered it would happen, but now?” That’s what’s happening. People are now reimagining the future of it. And that’s what it’s all about. You can invoke the past, but reimagining the future for yourself, for your family, for anyone is a very good thing right now, because of the chaos this word is in.
How much say did you have in what you would wear?
At first, I said I would, but I wasn’t going to wear a bathing suit with ties and curtains and all that. I wasn’t going to use anything like that because I don’t use things like that. I had to go to the Dominican Republic. I arrived very late and we had a very replacement dinner and then the next morning I had to try on a roomful of clothes that had been brought in. We started shooting at eight in the morning and we shot until six at night. He had nine different outfits.
Have you ever been asked to participate in the topic of swimsuits?
Never. When they called, I asked my daughter, Alexis, if I should do it myself, and she said, “Great.” She didn’t say, “Are you crazy?” I thought that was the best answer.
I imagine Playboy had come to you in the past.
No. I would never have done Playboy because I found it a very inadequate magazine because I was raised a prude. We were very conservative. When we change clothes, we close the bedroom door. We weren’t open, except my middle sister was.
Did you feel comfortable when you were shot only in a bathing suit?
I gritted my teeth and said, “We’ll do a swimsuit photo shoot.” They pushed me and groomed me and all that.
Have you been reading the comments on your Instagram post with the photos?
They are very good. There are only a few detractors who say: “The images are too photoshopped.” But they are not. They are incredibly accurate images. He was very pleased that there wasn’t much retouching.
What do you think when you read comments that say you must have done a lot of work to look this good?
Well, not true. I have had absolutely no plastic surgery at all. I have very healthy, good hair. I drink green juice every day. I take my vitamins. I eat very healthy. I have very good skin doctors. I am very careful with the sun. I wear hats and sunscreen every day.
Have you ever been tempted to do plastic surgery or fillers?
Every once in a while there are certain fillers I can do for a little line here or there, but I hate Botox. It’s a weird thing for me. I really and truly don’t do much.
Will we see a Martha Stewart swimsuit calendar?
(laughs) Well, I’m sending one to a friend who asked for it. So I’m making one for fun.
A friend-friend or a romantic friend?
He is a friend-friend.
Will you use these photos for your Tinder or Hinge dating profile?
The algorithm doesn’t suit me very well. Or I don’t fit Let’s put it that way, it doesn’t suit me very well. I tried. It’s ridiculous.
Earlier today it was announced that there will be a “Golden Bachelor” dating show for older singles. Would you ever be in it?
If I get to see the men first.
Would you consider doing a dating reality show?
I’m very busy. I have my beautiful cooking, entertainment, and gardening shows that I’m really into, so I don’t think I’d do a reality dating show. I was invited to “Dancing With the Stars”, but I didn’t have time to go to California. That would have been fun.
There’s still time. They are still doing it.
I know, but I’m not interested anymore. I would like to be in a movie at some point. I’ve had small roles in movies like “Bad Moms.” silly movies. But I would really like to do something else in a movie.
You could be in a Marvel movie. You could be a superhero.
That would be great. I can be the Queen of the Universe.
You already are. Do you watch Marvel movies?
Sometimes I go to the Marvel cinema. They have to be on the big screen. You can’t view them on an iPad.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. “Martha Cooks”, “Martha Gardens” and “Martha Holidays” are available on The Martha Stewart Channel on Roku.
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