|The household word and corporate icon Martha Stewart was born Martha Kostyra, the second of six children in a Polish-American family in Nutley, New Jersey. Like many girls of her generation, Martha was brought up knowing the basics of housekeeping and cooking. She was a big fan of Nancy Drew books, but she also had a literary side and, in high school, wrote for the literary magazine. She began a modeling career when she was 13, and eventually it put her through Barnard, where she majored in European history, and where she met Andrew Stewart, a student at Yale Law School. They were married in 1961--Martha made her own wedding dress (embroidered Swiss organdy)--and had one daughter, Alexis. After Alexis was born, Martha returned to work--this time as a stockbroker on Wall Street, where she learned to supplement her homemaking skills with business and financial savvy. She worked on Wall Street until, in 1972, the family moved to Westport, Connecticut and restored the 19th-century farmhouse known as Turkey Hill--a site that has figured prominently in Martha Stewart's public persona. She started a catering business and soon began publishing books, beginning with ENTERTAINING in 1982. In 1990, just as her phenomenally successful WEDDINGS was published, her husband left her. At first devastated, Martha eventually became more philosophical about her divorce ("It freed me to do more things"), but never banished the concept of traditional family life from her books. In 1991, Martha Stewart, Inc., metamorphosed into Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., a vast enterprise that includes a cable television show, a radio program, a syndicated newspaper column, and innumerable books on every aspect of cooking, decorating, gardening, and housekeeping. In 1999, the company went public and in one day raised almost $130 million. During her rise to fame and wealth in the 1990s, Martha Stewart has managed, through the force of her personality combined with a genius for marketing, to elevate the art of keeping house to a billion-dollar business while at the same time gaining the loyalty of legions of women who consider her not only a role model but something akin to a personal friend. Even a 2004 conviction and for insider trading and subsequent prison time has not hampered her impressive and continuing success.