Martha Stewart is known all over the world for her homemaking skills; from cooking, to cleaning, to crafts, Stewart is famous for doing it all. However, did you know she got her start in the industry as a commercial actress?
Stewart’s Modeling Career
Stewart began modeling while she was still in high school, appearing in TV commercials and print ads. One of the bigger ad campaigns she took part in was for Tareyton cigarettes, whose tagline was “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch.”
“I did a Tareyton ‘I’d rather fight than switch’ commercial, you know?” Stewart said in a 2004 interview with Larry King. “And then I practiced smoking. I tried to smoke for a week. And when I finally made the commercial, all I had to do was hold the cigarette.”
The commercial is somewhat disturbing when viewed today: all the actors in the commercial were sporting pretty serious black eyes. It’s unlikely this ad campaign would fly today, with similar trends catching heat, and for good reason. It’s a little jarring to see and strange to hear people “fighting” for their cigarette brand knowing what we know now about the health risks of smoking.
The Tareyton ads weren’t Stewart’s only modeling gigs. She made commercials for Unilever, a British food company, and Lifebuoy, a soap brand. Stewart continued to model while attending Barnard College, working as a fashion model for Chanel.
Her Home Improvement Empire
Stewart also met her future husband, Andrew Stewart, at college, and the two got married in 1961. Stewart returned to Barnard to finish her degree, then began work as a stockbroker. She and Andrew ended up moving to Westport, Connecticut, where Stewart began a catering business — and the rest is history!
Stewart began writing cookbooks and magazine articles and appearing on shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. In 1990, she launched Martha Stewart Living, which is still on newsstands today. Three years later, Stewart began her famous show, also called Martha Stewart Living, and the show quickly became a hit.
However, the famed homemaker soon found herself in a serious situation when she was accused of insider trading. Stewart was indicted by the government in 2003 on nine counts, including securities fraud and obstruction of justice. She was found guilty in 2004 and sentenced to five months in prison.
What Is She Doing Today?
Following her release in 2005, Stewart continued creating lifestyle and homemaking content, relaunching her show, and releasing product lines at Kmart and Sears. One of her most interesting recent projects is her partnership with longtime friend rapper Snoop Dogg. The two hosted a show together, Martha & Stewart’s Potluck Dinner Party, and have appeared in commercials together. The rapper’s weed habit has obviously rubbed off on Stewart; in 2019, she became the advisor to Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth.
From TV shows to magazines to cannabis companies, and cat litter, Stewart has done it all.
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