Overcoming scandal and maintaining an elegant style while doing it, Martha Stewart is the epitome of grace under pressure. As a child, Martha Helen Koystra, born on August 3, 1941 in Jersey City, New Jersey spent her early years absorbing as much as she could about homemaking from her mother, gardening from her father and canning and preserving foods from her grandparents. Always an overachiever, Martha was involved in a number of extracurricular activities while attending Nutley High School such as the Art Club and the school newspaper. She later pursued modeling, and appeared in a number of print ads and television commercials. While modeling and studying art and architectural history at New York's Barnard College, Martha met and later married Andrew Stewart, a Yale law student and in 1965 gave birth to a daughter, Alexis. After retiring from modeling, Martha became a stockbroker in 1967. She worked in the field until 1973, when she left to spend more time with her family and renovate her home. Her long-standing interest in cooking led to her opening her own catering business in 1976 and in 1982, her first book, Entertaining was released. The book made the New York Times Best Sellers list and established Martha as a reputable chef and homemaker. Martha continued to write popular books on cooking and entertaining, including 1997's Weddings and in 1990 launched the magazine Martha Stewart Living. She appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live and The Early Show on CBS. Martha's empire grew to include a web site, mail order business and a floral business and in 1999 her umbrella company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, was made public on the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks later got Martha into some problems and in 2004 she was convicted of insider trading and was sentenced to five months in prison. After being released from prison, Martha bounced back with her own daily show, The Martha Stewart Show, her own reality show, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, and a line of home goods, furnishings and paints for K-Mart stores. She continues to write books and make guest appearances on such shows as The Today Show and even has her own channel on satellite radio provider Sirius. With an empire that includes books, television, and home wares, life is 'a good thing' for Martha.
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