Martha Stewart Stuns Fans With History-Making Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover

Fans of Martha Stewart are used to seeing the Queen of Domestic Arts in her natural habitat on the cover of her magazine, Martha Stewart Living. She might be clad in a chambray top and straw hat as she gathers kale from her garden without getting a speck of dirt on her white slacks. Or maybe the camera will catch her in the act of ladling some rich and creamy avgolemono into soup bowls amid an artfully arranged table setting. But fans have never seen her as she appears on her historical cover of the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

The fabulously photogenic cookbook author traded her apron for swimwear to pose for her cover shot, rocking a white one-piece with a plunging neckline and billowing orange robe. Her usually sleek blond hair was tousled — and there was nary a kitchen utensil or pair of pruning sheers in sight. Stewart was one of four cover models chosen for this year's special edition of the magazine, joining "Jennifer's Body" star Megan Fox, seasoned SI model Brooks Nader, and singer Kim Petras, who made history as the first transgender woman to win a Grammy.

Stewart made some history of her own in what was a career callback of sorts, and while she definitely sees her cover girl gig as "a good thing," she was as chill as a bowl of gazpacho when she got the offer to pose for Sports Illustrated.

How Martha Stewart prepped for her SI photoshoot

At age 81, Martha Stewart became the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue's oldest cover model. The title was previously held by Tesla CEO Elon Musk's mother, Maye Musk, who appeared on the cover in 2022 at age 74. Speaking to SI, Stewart was cool and composed about her historical photoshoot, which took place in the Dominican Republic. "When I heard that I was going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, I thought, Oh, that's pretty good, I'm going to be the oldest person I think ever on a cover of Sports Illustrated," she said. However, she also made it clear that age is just a number to her and not something she dwells on. "Age is not the determining factor in terms of friendship or in terms of success," she pointed out.

When you can cook like Stewart can, obviously you aren't going to want to deprive yourself of all that deliciousness just for a silly magazine, but the kitchen virtuoso did admit to tweaking her diet a bit. "I didn't starve myself, but I didn't eat any bread or pasta for a couple of months," she told "Today." "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."

Martha Stewart's modeling past

Before Martha Stewart became a homemaking mogul, she made a living as a model. In the PBS documentary "Makers," she revealed that she started modeling when she was a student at Barnard College in New York. "I got enough modeling jobs at $50 an hour — which was a lot of money at that time," she said (via WWD). In a 2020 interview with People, she revealed that she decided to give modeling a shot at the recommendation of the parents of a friend whose daughter was a model. "I signed with Ford Models and was immediately signed up for TV commercials," she recalled.

In addition to working with the luxury fashion house Chanel, Stewart landed gigs appearing in ads for brands like Clairol and Tareyton Cigarettes. But her success didn't make her feel like there was anything special about the way she looked. "I was so skinny and so perfect for modeling, but I didn't know that I was beautiful," she said. "I was not sexy, and I was not provocative. That feeling never came. It still hasn't come." However, she did say that posing for photos came naturally to her, a talent that's evident in those Martha Stewart Living cover shots, her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue photos — and her thirst traps on Instagram.

Martha Stewart's viral thirst trap

We can't help but wonder whether Martha Stewart's mastery of the thirst trap helped her earn that coveted spot on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. In 2020, she shared a photo of herself puckering up poolside on Instagram, and her followers absolutely loved the shot. But when Entertainment Tonight asked her about it being a thirst trap, Stewart hilariously responded, "I don't even know what that is." After the meaning of the term was explained to her, she admitted the sultry snap was, indeed, a thirst trap.

Stewart tried to break the internet again in September 2022 by filming a Green Mountain Coffee ad whilst wearing nothing but an apron, and on "Today," she revealed that she was invited to shoot with SI two months later.

While Stewart's pool selfie looked pretty effortless, a lot of work went into her Sports Illustrated pictorial. According to the magazine, she posed in 10 different bathing suits while shooting at the Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. She also rocked a huge straw hat with an extra-shady brim that could come in really handy while gardening. "I hope this cover inspires you to challenge yourself to try new things, no matter what stage of life you are in," Stewart wrote on Instagram. "Changing, evolving, and being fearless — those are all very good things, indeed."