How Young Martha Stewart Became The Ultimate American Homemaker

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
Caterer Martha Stewart outside in backyard with her pet Persian cat perched on her shoulder, 1980. (Photo by Arthur Schatz/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Who is Martha Stewart, and how did she come to rule our lives? Stewart has a professional biography that stretches back to the '60s, when she was a model and stockbroker; she vaulted to stardom in the '80s as a familiar TV and newsstand presence who is an expert on everything having to do with home life and entertaining. If you're trying to cook something, build something, plant, decorate or arrange something around the house, odds are Martha has done it already and can show you the way -- although your results may not turn out as perfect as hers. Her determination and proficiency have made Martha Stewart America's first female self-made billionaire.