Martha Stewart covers SI Swimsuit Edition: I didn’t eat bread or pasta for a couple months

Martha Stewart has been enjoying a new wave of fame as a thirst trap poster for a while now. I, for one, love it. Martha is 81 and never hides her age or the fact that she feels good about herself. To celebrate this, Sports Illustrated just gave her one of the covers for their 2023 Swimsuit Edition. Her spread is lovely, too. It was shot in the Dominican Republic, and I can’t stop staring at Martha or her settings. It seems her modeling days have stayed with her. Plus, they have her in some cute swimsuits. Of course, when a woman is given the honor of a magazine cover, especially one who fits outside the normal parameters the discussion turned to how’d she do it? Martha said she didn’t starve herself, but she did give up bread and pasta for a few months.

Chances are you’ve never seen Martha Stewart like this before!

The lifestyle guru and business maven is one of four stars posing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s 2023 issue (others include Megan Fox, Kim Petras and Brooks Nader). And after debuting the cover exclusively on the Today show Monday morning, Stewart opened up to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb about why she agreed to do the shoot and what she did to prepare.

“I’m sort of shaking because it’s odd to go to an island and get changed into nine different bathing suits in one day in front of all those people,” Stewart said, after seeing the cover for the first time. “I like that picture. … And it turned out okay!”

She went on to explain that she was first asked to do the cover in November 2022, just a few weeks before the photoshoot was scheduled at the end of January. “That was kind of a request that I’ve never had before,” Stewart recalled. “To be on the cover at my age was a challenge. And I think I met the challenge.”

To get ready, Stewart focused on good old-fashioned diet and exercise.

“I didn’t starve myself, but I didn’t eat any bread or pasta for a couple of months,” Stewart said. “I went to Pilates every other day and that was great; I’m still going to Pilates every other day ’cause it’s so great. And I just, I live a clean life anyway — good diet and good exercise and healthy skincare and all of that stuff.”

She told Guthrie, 51, and Kotb, 58, that she sees her appearance as “a testament for good living.”

“I think all of us should think about good living, successfully living, and not aging. The whole aging thing is so boring. You know what I mean?” Stewart said. “I have a hospital called the Center for Living at Mt. Sinai. I started this hospital with Mt. Sinai and it’s all about growing old gracefully. We don’t think about aging, we think about successful living and we try to install in people the desire to eat well, exercise well, have friends to have pets — to do all the things that make you happy as you get older. So that’s what I’m all about.”

Also helping her, she said, was her genes. “My mom was my role model,” said Stewart, pointing to a throwback photo she had posted of her mother for Mother’s Day. “After four kids, she was still wearing a two-piece bathing suit. And she still had two more after that and she was still wearing a two-piece bathing suit, so that’s pretty fabulous. My genes are good.”

[From People]

I love what Martha said about successful living and that we need to stop focusing on aging as a bad thing. I had no idea she’d started her own center on this. Later in the interview they talk about how Martha’s father gave her her confidence and he always told her to “educate herself” as opposed to “get educated,” which I also love. Savannah Guthrie touched on Martha’s fearlessness like being on the cover of SI at the age of 81 and trying online dating. There were good points made.

I don’t, however, love that so much importance was associated with being traditionally slim. I’m sure Martha’s mom deserved to be a role model for much more than fitting into a bikini after four kids. Raising four kids without losing her mind is enough to be a role model. And not eating carbs for a few months isn’t sustainable. Obviously, because Martha only did it for a few months. That’s not ‘successfully living,’ that’s denying yourself so you can fit in a bathing suit. I’d prefer Martha spent more time talking about discovering Pilates. Pilates was invented for the purpose of rehabilitation so it’s actually a fantastic exercise for older folks. I don’t mind Martha’s idea that her appearance is “a testament for good living.” I just wish that was more about her generally vitality and not her weight.

Photo credit: Twitter, Instagram and Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency and Arlene Richie/JPI Studios/Avalon

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

74 Responses to “Martha Stewart covers SI Swimsuit Edition: I didn’t eat bread or pasta for a couple months”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Southern Fried says:

    I love this too! So positive for numerous reasons and I applaud any positives for women in all departments.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yes! Successful living rather than ‘aging’. I live my life this way, mostly because I don’t know any other way to live, but I can say focusing on living well rather fighting off aging & wrinkles & so on is a much better mindset for me.
      Oh, and I want to go wherever it was in the DR that they filmed this shoot. Beautiful!

    • Well Wisher says:

      An ode to good living – I love it….

  2. SarahCS says:

    Yes to pilates! Definitely talk more about that.

    My grandmother was introduced to pilates in her 70’s and into her 80’s her party trick was lying down on the floor and getting up again while her peers looked on in awe as they were all in fear of ending up on the floor and not being able to get back up.

    I also love the idea of living vs ageing, I want to enjoy the fact that I’m still here as I get older. I’m in my 40’s and already noticing so many physical differences even compared to five years ago and I definitely want to enjoy what i have while I have it.

    • Southern Fried says:

      Lol fun grandma is a gift.

    • North of Boston says:

      There’s some physical assessment that is basically lie down on the floor and stand back up – you count the number of times you have to touch something to balance/lift yourself (ie a hand or knee on the floor counts as 1)
      Barring orthopedic issues, health conditions, I find it a useful self check for how I’m doing (along with counting how long I can balance on one leg, toe touches, getting up and down out of a chair … on that last one, I recently found myself making the old person gets out of chair noise … that was my cue to get back on track with self care).

      I’m not a super exerciser, but I want to maintain mobility and flexibility, so walking, stretching, light yoga and Pilates are my go to’s, but it’s too easy for me to skip them for other life “have to’s” and my job is a sit at a computer all day job, so that doesn’t help. So doing those little checks periodically are a way to catch myself if I’m starting to let myself and my physical functionality slip.

      • Lucky Charm says:

        @NorthofBoston, your balancing on one leg reminded me of my youngest granddaughter. She recently broke her foot and wanted to show me how she could balance on one leg…she lifted her good leg and stood on the one in the cast lol.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I would love to try Pilates, but unfortunately the only gyms in my neighborhood are boxing / kickboxing places (kind of not the same thing haha.) I am tempted to try to start with some simple exercises here at home, but I’m concerned about reinjuring my back.

      Anyway, all this to say that I think your grandma sounds awesome!

      • Josephine says:

        You can do mat Pilates at home – there are lots of good examples on youtube and elsewhere. It really is a life-changer. Just ease in and listen to your body!

      • NotSoSocialB says:

        There are many “wall pilates” workout apps available and a plethora of examples on TT.

      • Banga says:

        Hi, LadyMtL,

        There are a lot of YouTube Pilates people, but a lot of them are doing general movement, not really Pilates. Check out Andrea Maida’s channel. She really knows the method and gets right to it.

        A person who’s been doing Pilates since ‘99.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Imma home workout person lol. No gyms for moi. The only ones I like make me sound like a little snob, so home it is! I’ve even got my youngest going with me. Pilates is next on my list, then yoga. But I think I’m more of a Pilates girl because of the movements. I’ve upped my cardio, squats, lunges and arms, now I’m starting to focus on core, and it’s SORE lol.

    • mellie says:

      After I started having arthritis in my hands, I switched my workout from a kickboxing routine to hot pilates and hot yoga….best change I ever made. I do pilates twice a week, hot yoga twice a week and run a few times a week. As my running life winds down, I can see pilates and yoga never going away – it’s so fun and great on my joints. I wish I had started it years ago. The kickboxing really did nothing for me (except sometimes let out some aggressions!), it actually at times caused some injury. My balance and flexibility are so much better, I’m stronger and my rear end looks great 🙂
      Kudos to Martha – I saw that interview yesterday, loved it when she said something to the affect of “talking about aging is so boring”…haha.

  3. Pinkosaurus says:

    I don’t mind Martha confirming she still had to do some unsustainable short-term actions for the shoot and it’s not all just “eat healthy” and “running around after my dogs/kids”, etc. I think it’s good to set reasonable expectations. Martha clearly has a long-term healthy, active lifestyle and still needed some extreme measures (including lighting, posing, photoshop, etc.) to look like she does on the cover so readers should not be feeling bad about themselves that their healthy bodies do not look like that.

    • Sudie says:

      Amen! Thank you for pointing this out. I am 74 and recently saw a photo of Helen Mirren and how beautiful she looked with her long white hair. I also started growing my white hair out and was wondering how Helen’s looked so good and mine looked like white straw! My dear daughter gave me the same advice. Celebrities like Jane Fonda, Helen, Martha, Diane Keaton, etc., have all the advantages of being able to afford and get the best work done for themselves. I do exercise 3-4 times a week and I can get on the floor and back up with no problems so my physical body is in good shape but I don’t have the advantages of cosmetic procedures, lighting and expensive hair treatments. I love Martha and she looks fabulous and she really is an inspiration.

    • Kitten says:

      She’s also had a facelift by a very good, undoubtedly very expensive plastic surgeon, in addition to other work. I mean, she looks fantastic but it’s weird that we all have to tiptoe around the obvious work she’s had done and pretend that it’s all diet and good genes.

      • Alice says:

        Not only that but I don’t understand what’s there to celebrate in a woman giving up any kind of food for months just to fit what? The wrong size swimsuit? Someone’s unrealistic expectations? I thought we were past that point in time. I’ll celebrate when women feel empowered to have a photo shoot 5 minutes after leaving home, just as they are.

    • j.ferber says:

      Kitten, I hope she had that $87,000 face lift offered by a doctor (in New York, I think). Marc Jacobs had it and, I believe, Law Roach. It looks like that very high caliber work. And I bet she did diet too and does have good genetics. She didn’t deny it; she’s just not admitting it. And for a woman of her generation, I get it. She looks terrific!

  4. Velvet Elvis says:

    Martha is a goddess.

  5. Brassy Rebel says:

    I’m sure her youthful appearance is a “testament to good living”. Not to be the skunk at the garden party, but it’s also testament to good plastic surgery. This is not natural aging. It’s fine to have cosmetic surgery if that’s what you want and can afford it (Medicare doesn’t cover it). But if she wasn’t wrinkle free and carefully sculpted, SI never would have put her on the cover. This is not the way the vast majority of 81 year olds look or can look without lots of work, no matter how fit and clean living they are.

    • LooneyTunes says:

      I am definitely going to use “skunk at a garden party” from here on in. 🤣

    • MY3CENTS says:

      Yup, sorry, I’m old enough to remember at least two of her last faces, and she looked different.
      Granted she did not go overboard with the surgery but she is looking very pulled, so it’s not just good genes.

    • Ginny says:

      Thank you for saying this, @BrassyRebel! That was my issue with this whole thing. Sure, there are some things to celebrate here, but at the end of the day, it’s still perpetuating unrealistic expectations for women that can only be perfectly met by resources that the majority of us don’t have.

      • Alice says:

        Exactly! I don’t understand what’s there to celebrate in a woman giving up any kind of food for months just to fit what? The wrong size swimsuit? Someone’s unrealistic expectations? I thought we were past that point in time. I’ll celebrate when women feel empowered to have a photo shoot 5 minutes after leaving home, just as they are.

    • Grace says:

      Stealing that one…”skunk at the garden party”. and you are 100% correct about everything else too! Good genes + plastic surgery = “tight”!

    • caitlin says:

      Thanks for addressing the obvious elephant in the room Brassy Rebel. Clean healthy living?come on! Plastic surgery is not a crime but selling a false narrative should be!

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      She’s pulled and peeled within an inch of her life.

    • Peanut Butter says:

      Yes, Brassy Rebel, thank you for pointing out the elephant in the room of expensive plastic surgery. Health and vigor are only part of what’s going on with this cover shot. I’d love to see her on the cover minus at least some of the work and with less photoshopping. She would look even better and truly inspiring to me, being just as healthy and vigorous but less “altered” and youth-fluffed. Would be far more congruent, I believe, with her great attitude

    • Kitten says:

      Ugh thank you! Said the same above. Should have kept scrolling before commenting.

    • lucy2 says:

      Thank you!
      She looks fantastic, and I’m sure she does take excellent care of herself (and is privileged enough to do so) but it’s important to recognize she’s had work done, and there’s some retouching as well (as all models of any age get).
      All that said, I love someone in their 80s getting selected for this.

    • Traveller says:

      You’re 100% correct.

  6. LooneyTunes says:

    I’m going to say this and don’t care if it’s unpopular. I can’t believe women are still volunteering for pageants and swimsuit issues in the year of our lord Beyoncé 2023. And at 81, I hope I have the gumption to not deprive myself of any foods I enjoy for “months” to please the eyes of strangers. That said, has she posted these pictures of her somewhere on vacation, I’d say she looks wonderful. Just don’t like the idea of these types of spreads.

    • Grace says:

      Preach!!! I am with you all the way on this!

    • Cherry says:

      “At 81, I hope I have the gumption to not deprive myself of any foods I enjoy for “months” to please the eyes of strangers.” Amen, sister.

    • Blue Nails Betty says:

      @Looney Same. When I saw the headline my first thought was how sad it was that an 81 year old woman is *still* worried about food/being “fat”/how the world views her appearance.

    • ME says:

      Also, has she not heard of photoshop? They would have airbrushed, filtered, and photoshopped her into “perfection” anyways. I’d like to know is she really “natural” though? Has she had plastic surgery? If so, what are we celebrating here? I guess even in your 80’s women have to keep it “tight” for the male gaze. The swimsuit issue of this magazine is stupid. What year are we in?

      • BeanieBean says:

        I was thinking there must’ve been photoshopping. I’m not close to Martha’s age but I’ve got veins running across my chest that are clearly visible (no issues, just thin skin per my doc). And she doesn’t?

      • Ameerah M says:

        Of course, it’s photoshopped. All magazine covers are.

      • ME says:

        @ Ameerah

        I know. That’s why I said there is no point in dieting before a shoot. They will photoshop you into perfection anyways.

    • sparrow says:

      Thank you for saying much better what I was thinking. This cover and the self imposed battle to get there isn’t a moment of glory.

    • Alice says:

      I’m nt giving up pasta at any age. And won’t celebrate that women are still supposed to celebrate giving up anything to fit into someone’s fake idea of them.

  7. LongThymeLurker says:

    Does anyone else see Ellen Pompeo in about 30 years in the cover picture?

  8. bisynaptic says:

    The #1 key to “good living” is $$$$.

    • Lens says:

      EXACTLY. And I might be the only skunk at the garden party who actually thinks she looks a little creepy as a 81 year old to be that smooth faced. The same way Cher and Madonna can’t age normally doesn’t make me look at them with any admiration only a little pity.

  9. AnneL says:

    Not eating carbs isn’t sustainable, but to be fair she never said it was. She just did it for a couple of months so she would look better for a swimsuit cover. I can kind of relate to that. If either of my kids get married, I will probably do what one of my friends did and restrict my carbs before the wedding so I can look better in the photos. Then I’ll go back to what I normally do, eating healthily and working out four days a week.

    The woman has definitely had work done but I believe her when she says she lives “clean.” Martha Stewart is the soul of discipline and she’s earned her fortune. She can use it for a facelift if she wants to. Now that the cover is out, I hope she enjoys a piece or two of raspberry apricot pie with lattice crust….

    • Snuffles says:

      But cutting carbs is. And carbs technically includes fruits and vegetables too. The goal is to eat carbs with high fiber content. Most Bread and pasta is not high fiber.

    • Beenie says:

      “Not eating carbs isn’t sustainable”. This is a blanket statement that might be true for some people but is also not true for others.

      Martha said she didn’t eat bread/pasta (I.e. grains, or to put a finer point on it, flour). Commenters here seem to think that is only ok in the short term. It has been years since I’ve eaten flour. It makes me feel bloated, causes me to crave sugar (which I also don’t eat), and also makes me constipated. So, I haven’t had bread or pasta in years. When you say “Not eating carbs isn’t sustainable”, are you saying that my way of eating isn’t sustainable? Because honestly I feel great and have zero urges to go back to eating those things.

      • Normades says:

        Very true Beenie. I have friends who are gluten intolerant and haven’t eaten anything with flour in years. It is possible and sustainable.
        I definitely get wheat belly and go low carb frequently. I just eat a ton of vegetables and substitute for healthier alternatives like quinoa or sweet potatoes. It’s not sustainable for me because I love pasta and pizza too much! But when I cut those out for a while I definitely see and feel the difference.
        Low carbing gets such a bad wrap but it really is better for your health. Processed grains are just not good for you. Afterwards of course it is not ´no carb’ because there are carbs in vegetables but that’s not the point and not what Martha said.

      • The Old Chick says:

        Same Beanie, I haven’t eaten a bowl of pasta in over 10 years not for looks but how it makes me feel. Rice of any description does my blood sugar in and it takes days to recover.

  10. Busybody says:

    “Clean living”…okay, Martha. I read this as I’m bleary-eyed at 5:00 am, eating my breakfast of coffee and a bagel, preparing to wake the kids and head to a 12-hr shift. She looks great and I’ve always liked how she has a sense of humor about herself, but this is more than clean living. It’s plastic surgery, excellent medical care (including dermatology!), and time/money to focus on looking good. Luxuries.

  11. Pointillist says:

    Ageism and dying are dead.

  12. fabulous says:

    A testament to good living? My a**. Botox, surgery & photoshop more like.

    What is the message supposed to be? That old ladies can still be hot? Do women never get a break from this stuff Personally? Personally I would rather have someone with laughter lines and sunspots.

    • Tulipworthy says:

      I agree 100%. To me the whole thing is sad. Don’t try to BS us by not mentioning the photo shopping, plastic surgery, and botox .

      • sparrow says:

        Huge amounts of photoshop. I don’t know why people bother turning up to a photoshoot these days – they could have created this image without her there. Is she fooling herself that we’re fooled?! Or, more concerning, is she fooled by her own photo?!

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      Seriously. I don’t want to have to worry about being “sexy” forever.

  13. LeeLee says:

    I am always going to be a big Martha fan. She rocks. Whether 18 or 81, it’s ok for a woman to still want to look good and if it is by more than natural means, so be it. As long as she wasn’t forced up on that cover, I am here for it.

  14. TwinFalls says:

    I’m trying not to care about not having tight skin at 47 and this cover/interview is depressing as fuck that I might still care enough at 81 enough to starve myself to “look good” when clearly looking good does not equal going about life normally. At 80 fucking 1. It seriously never ends.

    • sparrow says:

      She sounds utterly stupid to me. I don’t know her background; she’s not a cultural phenomenon over here. But, as I said above, she doesn’t really look like this. She starved herself for nothing. She’s got to 80, lived in the media all her life, and doesn’t realise that images are edited to hell and back and she could’ve turned up as plump as a pudding and wrinkled as a prune and it would have turned out exactly the same.

  15. theRobinsons says:

    Momma’s stepping Out!
    You go Martha!

  16. HeyKay says:

    Well said, Twinfalls.

  17. Abby says:

    Jeez, you’d think a grandma of 81 would have learned to value better things in life, but here we are…

    18 or 81 women only ever get praised for one thing….their appearance…..

  18. Myeh says:

    I call pilates white supremacist yoga. The pilates only studio I work at is all rich or wealthy white older women and their equally over privileged daughters. These women are the biggest anti feminists while trying to pass off their misogyny to the next generation as “traditional American values”. The elderly pilates women will be competitive and territorial over their status with younger white women who are gunning for their spouse’s old wealthy white man money or so they think in their defensive paranoid mental state. I’ve never had to break up so many physical fights in a fitness studio that charges 600/month baseline ever before. Obviously money doesn’t buy class. When these women aren’t talking about their privileged lives as an Olympic sport they are straight up discussing how little they eat to stay slim. Yeah Vera we all know sub 500 calories and clear grain alcoholism is your go to let’s not glorify your eating disorder for everyone else vulnerable enough to take notes and follow in your disordered eating pattern. It’s never sustainable. This morning a co worker mouthed welcome to nazi karen central because my morning class is exactly that. I was glad for a while when we did a free week offer and there was diversity in the form of the saltiest queens coming in but they were shown the door in the name of capitalist profiteering from the moneyed whites. Figures Martha Stewart is into pilates. It’s literally the most exclusionary modality of exercise I’ve ever encountered.

    • ME says:

      This would make a great reality show ! Though I”m sure with cameras around, those racist b*tches would change their tune quickly.

    • BeanieBean says:

      @Myeh–you stated what I’ve long thought, I’ve just never had the money to try pilates so I’ve never had to experience that atmosphere. I’ll stick with my at home Yoga with Adriene (and Benji!).

      • Alice says:

        I’ve always done it via youtube. Some excellent instructors there. I like poppilates if you’d like to take a look, she has different levels, different length.

    • Dara says:

      Pilates is the same as any fitness program (yoga, barre, martial arts, cycling), eventually they all get co-opted by big business and completely ruined by people looking to cash in on the latest trend. The trick is finding the places that we’re doing their thing long before it became trendy.

      There were two Pilates studios in my old neighborhood. One was an outpost of the newest, hippest Pilates chain – just seeing who walked into that place (white, haughty, young, skinny) was enough to make me want to never venture in there. The other was independently owned, had been there for decades, didn’t advertise, specialized in rehabilitation, and required you to take six private lessons to make sure you had the technique down before they even let you near their machines unsupervised.

    • Jaded says:

      I hate that the original Pilates, which Joseph and Clara Pilates created back in the 1920’s and was done in a dumpy little gym, has been coopted by rich, white, pin-thin women with too much time on their hands and oversized egos. There are some very good YouTube Pilates videos I do regularly as well as yin (easy flow) yoga with Aprille Walker, and at 70 they have helped me keep mobility in my hips and lower back.

  19. Emmy Rae says:

    >>I don’t mind Martha’s idea that her appearance is “a testament for good living.” I just wish that was more about her generally vitality and not her weight.

    This is right on. Personally I’m drawn right to her face & satisfied smile in all of these photos more than the contours of her waistline.

  20. NMB says:

    This is pretty awesome. Martha looks great. Love that she’s 81, realistic to a degree, and not in a skimpy bikini. I agree with another commenter in that I’d take her treatise on aging more seriously if she clearly hasn’t had plastic surgery….although, whatever she’s done with her face looks pretty natural.

  21. Eleanor says:

    Her clean living approach clearly requires a lot of money, a couple doctors & time. That said, she has never tried to be relatable and I’m fine with that. I’ve learned from her cookbooks and gardening tips. She is an aspirational type of source of information for me, that’s it.

    As for cutting carbs for a few months, I do it every January – March. I have “dry” months twice a year and no sugar in September and October. Is it challenging? Yes, I miss those things and still have to prep meals for my family and the hospital break rooms are carb-central. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

  22. hangonamin says:

    good for her! she seems like she’s got a healthy attitude towards aging. and it’s important to keep women of all ages in the conversation and champion for health at all ages.
    personally, i don’t love that we have hospital wings named after billionaires and rich people. it just seems like a beacon of the health inequities we have in our country. would rather it be named after notable people who’ve made significant contributions for advancing medicine or health equity.

    • Lucy says:

      My grandma and her friends used to joke about hope much it costs to get a hospital named after you. One of her friend’s husband was a hospital exec of some kind, I thought it was a little weird.