At 81, Martha Stewart Covers Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Like a True Jersey Girl

This Jersey girl knows how to work it!

Martha Stewart on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Martha Stewart covers the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, on newsstands May 18. Photo: Ruven Afanador/Sports Illustrated

This Jersey girl knows how to work it!

At 81 years old, New Jersey native Martha Stewart covers the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in a plunging white one-piece bathing suit—and she rocks it.

“Usually I’m motivated by pay, but this time I was motivated by showing people that a woman my age can still look good, feel good, be good, blah blah blah,” the home-design guru says in a behind-the-scenes video for the publication.

Svelte Stewart grew up in Nutley in the 1950s, where she earned extra cash by working as a model after school at the now-defunct department store Bonwit Teller. As a teen, she was also very focused on her schoolwork and served on student council, as she told New Jersey Monthly in a past interview. “It was very important to me to be an all-around student,” she said in 2011 of her time at Nutley High School. “I was pretty centered on being smart and well read and had a lot of hobbies, and I was the art director of [the school’s literary magazine] The Gauntlet.

Back then, her name was Martha Kostyra. “I lived for every day, and I tried to get all my work done, and I was a good child, basically,” she said. She went skating, attended high school football games and bonfires, and caught tadpoles.

Today, she lives in Bedford, New York and has a home in East Hampton.

Anyone who’s followed Stewart recently won’t be too surprised by her turn as a cover model. Her Instagram account has featured sultry swimsuit shots. The sexy white suit on her SI cover is by Monday Swimwear, while her vibrant cover-up comes from Torso Creations and her ring was designed by Jacob & Co.

Martha Stewart on the Today show

Martha Stewart reveals her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover on Monday’s episode of the “Today” show. Photo: NBC News/Today

Still, she said that posing for the SI cover was not easy. “To be on the cover at my age was a challenge, and I think I met that challenge,” she said while revealing the cover on Monday’s episode of the Today show.

She got a call from the magazine in November and had to be ready to shoot by January. So how did she prepare?

“I didn’t starve myself, but I didn’t eat any bread or pasta for a couple of months,” said Stewart, noting she always lives a “clean life.” “I went to Pilates every other day, and that was great…. I’m still going to Pilates every other day.”

Her past modeling experience, which helped her pay for college at Barnard, also helped.

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