I have stood onstage arm in arm with Martha Stewart as cameras flashed. I have chatted with her at a book party for a mutual friend. But I have never cooked with Stewart, the honor bestowed on Susan Young, who wrote our cover feature. And here’s the great back story behind it:
Martha Stewart is a one-woman megabrand who exists in a category of two, alongside Oprah Winfrey. We had unsuccessfully pursued Stewart for a cover for four years. Young, past president of the Television Critics Association, knows everybody in the TV biz, and when she proposed a Stewart cover story, we wished her luck and kept our expectations low.
Young wangled an invitation to a preview of the new Martha Stewart’s Cooking School show. Stewart asked for volunteers to help her make an omelet. Young waved wildly and got picked. Then, once onstage with Stewart, in front of the live audience, Young confessed she had never made an omelet before. Talk about chutzpah—kind of like getting an audience with the pope and telling him you’re an atheist.
What followed is a life lesson you can read about on SUCCESS.com. Fast forward: Stewart liked Young and told her reps Young could interview her for SUCCESS. Even though the interview alone made us happy, we still hoped for a cover story. So we nudged. And waited. And nudged. And waited. And one day my wonderful editor Lisa Ocker emailed the following in all caps, “MARTHA WILL DO THE COVER!!”
We all jumped up, high-fiving and hugging (that would be me hugging Lisa). Even Stewart’s publicists seemed awestruck. “You have to understand,” one said, “Martha just doesn’t do covers.” But her attitude is one that every entrepreneur—and every person—must adopt to be successful and happy. It’s the SUCCESS attitude of optimism and resilience. So it’s neither dumb luck nor coincidence that this icon is gracing our cover.