She's always made me a little suspicious and scared, but I still wouldn't turn down a chance to meet Martha Stewart. Let's blame my Mom, since she's a longtime Martha Stewart magazine subscriber and fan.
Meeting Martha Stewart in the early 1990s was fascinating. My chance to see her came via my slave work as a KPIX-5 CBS intern, in San Francisco. A producer told me she would be in studio, and that I should stop by and take any leftover props for the community affairs program (remember Bay Sunday, anyone?) I worked for. The chance to spy on Martha sounded great.
The only other folks in the studio during her taping were two male super gay assistants. I quickly introduced myself to one, and found out he was also local. "My God," he stage whispered, "Her budget for greens alone is over seven hundred dollars! After we finish, it's bye-bye, don't need the greens anymore," he promised. Yes, Martha's bounty would be mine! There was a huge and beautiful wreath, and piles of flowers and green vines. Martha was friendly yet precise when the cameras rolled. The segment was less than seven minutes. Her greens budget was probably more than Bay Sunday's entire budget.
Now it was my turn to be cheesy. I usually never bug celebrities for anything, because it seems silly. Martha was the one exception, because I knew my Mom would be so excited to have an autograph from her. When I met Martha, I lied and smiled as I said, "I'm a big fan." Martha smiled and preened a little and kept messing with her bangs. (She'd been playing with them whenever the camera wasn't on. Maybe it was time for a trim?) I held up a pen and paper and asked, "I was wondering if you would sign this. It's for my Mom. She's a huge fan. She gets your magazine, and loves all your stuff."
"Oh?" Martha said, pulling the bangs a little more. "Yes, dear. What's her name?"
"Mary Ann," I said, timidly (what the hell was wrong with me? I'm NOT a fan, my Mom is!) .
She wrote out a note to my Mom that read, "Dear Mary Ann, Here's to enjoying wonderful and beautiful things in life. Best wishes, Martha Stewart." I thanked Martha (more fidgety bang play from her) and she offered her hand. Her assistants were right there, to whisk her away to the next stop on her SF tour.
Later, my Mom and I compared the note to the signature and writing in her magazine. She is a total chicken scratcher when it comes to writing! It is not clean and dainty, the way it looks in the mag. Her cursive was compact and a little smashed together, not flowing and beautiful. Well, everyone has their quirks.