June 6, 2023

Martha Stewart had just two months to prep 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’ve had my regular facials, but maybe more often, and I’ve also gotten a spray tan,” Stewart, who won three Daytime Emmys this year, told me during a phone interview Tuesday. “And I’m not a hairy person, but I got a full body wax.”

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At age 81, Stewart made history as the oldest SI swimsuit model. Stewart was a model in his twenties and worked with legends like Richard Avedon. “When I was a model and posed all the time in bathing suits and sporting sexy things, I should have been on the cover,” she says before adding with a laugh, “But I wasn’t modeling $75 an hour then. I was just a $50 and $60 an hour model.

Is this something you could have really imagined at age 81?

It’s certainly sparked interest in a lot of different places. I just got an e-mail from Gayle King. She wrote: ‚ÄúCongratulations, this is really amazing. You look gorgeous, and blah, blah, blah. I wrote back to her, “Next year is your year.” She wrote back, “I never thought it would happen, but now?” That’s what happens. People are now rethinking their future. And that’s what it’s all about. You can appeal to 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 of a say did you have in what you would wear?

At first I said I would, but I wouldn’t wear a fuddy-duddy bathing suit with bows and drapes and all that stuff. I wouldn’t wear something like that because I don’t wear that kind of thing. I had to go to the Dominican Republic. I came in very late and we had a very Reserve dinner and the next morning I had to try on a room full of clothes they brought downstairs. We started shooting at eight in the morning and shot until six in the evening. I had nine different outfits.

Have you ever been asked to star in the swimsuit issue?

Never. When they called, I asked my daughter, Alexis, if I should do it and she said, “Cool.” She didn’t say, “Are you crazy?” I thought that was the best response.

I imagine if Playboy had come to you in the past.

No. I would never have done Playboy because I thought it was a very inappropriate magazine because I was raised a prude. We were very conservative. When we changed, we closed the bedroom door. We weren’t open – except my middle sister was open.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart

Did you feel comfortable being shot in just a bathing suit?

I gritted my teeth and said, “We’re doing a swimsuit shoot.” They pushed me and jabbed me and all that stuff.

Did you read the comments on your Instagram post with the photos?

They are very good. There are only a few naysayers who say, “The photos are overly retouched.” But they are not. They are incredibly accurate photos. I was very happy that there wasn’t much airbrushing.

What do you think when you read comments saying that you must have put in a lot of work to look this good?

Well, it’s not true. I have not had 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 in the sun. I wear hats and I wear sunblock 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 line here or there, but I hate Botox. It’s something weird to 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 boyfriend-boyfriend or a romantic friend?

It’s a friend-friend.

Do you use these photos for your dating profile on Tinder or Hinge?

The algorithm doesn’t suit me very well. Or I don’t fit in. Put like that – I don’t fit in very well. I’ve tried. It is ridiculous.

It was announced earlier today that there will be a “Golden Bachelor” dating show for older singles. Would you ever be there?

If I get to see the men first.

Would you consider doing a reality dating show?

I am very busy. I have my wonderful cooking, entertainment and gardening shows that I am very interested in so I don’t think I would do a reality dating show. They did ask me to “Dancing With the Stars,” but I didn’t have time to go to California. That would have been nice.

There’s still time. They still do.

I know, but I don’t care anymore. I would like to act in a movie sometime. I’ve played small roles in movies like “Bad Moms.” Silly movies. But I would really like to do something more 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?

I sometimes go to the Marvel movies. They must be seen on the big screen. You cannot 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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