Is Martha Stewart the first influencer? NBC 5’s Meredith Land posed the question last month during a sit-down conversation with the media mogul at the Junior League of Dallas luncheon.
“I think I might be,” Stewart says.
On April 21, more than 1,500 people braved the gridlocked valet line and packed into the Hilton Anatole ballroom for the women’s leadership organization’s sold-out 11th Milestones luncheon.
Land chatted with Stewart for about 30 minutes, covering everything from peacocks to perfectionism. Thanks to a faulty microphone, it was difficult at first for the crowd to hear Stewart credit her “good genes” as her beauty secret, but by the time the conversation turned to Snoop Dogg, someone had brought her a new, working mic.
D was in the crowd that day. Here are seven things we learned about Stewart and, well, life.
She thought Snoop Dogg was much older than he was.
Stewart first met Snoop Dogg back in 2008, then reconnected at the 2015 Comedy Central roast of Justin Bieber. There was so much marijuana smoke in the air while rehearsing that “by the actual taping of the show, I was high as a kite,” she says. “Secondhand smoke is very powerful.”
At the time, she thought he was around 60. “He was 40!” she says.
Their unexpected friendship delighted the 2010s zeitgeist, resulting in many appearances together, partnerships, brand deals, and a television show. “He’s very entrepreneurial and it’s nice to work with someone like that,” Stewart says, later admitting to Land that Snoop is her celebrity crush.
You can’t leash a peacock.
Last year, Stewart famously corrected the New York Post, tweeting she owned 21 peacocks, not the Post-reported 16. Now, she jokes, “I’m the peacock expert.”
So much so that Kris Jenner recently invited Stewart to her Calabasas home for lunch and to get advice on potential peacock ownership. But, Stewart says, Jenner’s neighborhood is too crowded to feasibly own the birds.
“You can’t have peacocks because you can’t leash a peacock,” she says. “And if you keep them in a little cage, they will drive you insane with their noise.”
Stewart’s lunch will appear on Hulu’s The Kardashians.
Stewart spent the whole day with the Kardashian-Jenner clan, which will be featured on the family’s new Hulu show.
Although Stewart refuted Land’s question if the family was nervous to meet her, “all the lemon trees that line the walk to the front door of Kris’ house were newly planted, like that morning,” she says. “I could tell.”
But Stewart praised Jenner’s business savvy.
“I mean, what a matriarch,” Stewart says. “She has built like five billion-dollar businesses in the last 10 years. You know what, not very many people get to do that. Not very many women either get to do that.”
Follow experts on social media.
“The whole idea of my business is to teach and to inspire,” Stewart says, explaining that she’s constantly learning in order to be a good teacher. “And what I like to say is if we show you how to plant a tree, and I discover a new way to plant a tree that’s better, I will then change the way to plant a tree.”
Although Land christened Stewart as “the first influencer,” the mogul says she mostly follows experts on social media. “What are they doing? How are they doing it?” she says. “You learn that way, very nicely.”
Stewart’s favorite account to follow? James Todman. “He is a topiary expert,” she says. “He knows how to trim boxwood better than anybody in the whole world.”
Hire good lawyers.
When Land asked what she would’ve done differently in her career, Stewart says, “Maybe I should have hired some better lawyers here and there along the way.”
She admitted her quip was referencing Robert Morvillo, who represented her in the 2004 ImClone case; she was convicted and sentenced to five months in prison. Stewart says “be careful who you work with.”
She told a story about another attorney when she took Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia public in 1999. “When I started my business, women in business were not ‘the thing,’” she says. Her lawyer at the time wasn’t very confident in her odds. After her stock doubled, “he sent me a little orchid plant—a little tiny one, like from the grocery store—and said, ‘Congratulations.’ That’s all he said. And you know, where is he now?”
A good boss should know what’s going on.
Stewart told Land that she still works about 18 hours a day, every single day. “My life is my work, and my work is my life,” she says.
Stewart says she likes to know everything that’s going on within her company. She wants to know everything that’s happening, every product being created.
Plus, a good boss should be egalitarian, she says. “You should be open to doing every single job,” she says, “knowing what every single job entails in a company, too.”
Stewart’s a perfectionist and proud of it.
Late in the conversation, Land asked Stewart what the public gets wrong about her. “They used to think I was too much of a perfectionist,” Stewart says.
But, she continued, “I think being a perfectionist is really good thing.” Stewart listed Elon Musk and Bill Gates—had they not been perfectionists, then we wouldn’t have Teslas and Microsoft Word (although, “I still find glitches in” the later, she says).
“Perfection—it counts a lot.” (In fact, the reason this story is so late is because Stewart’s team had to approve the art.)