“I HAVE A MAINTENANCE regimen for feeling good and looking good,” says Martha Stewart. Well, of course she does! America’s duchess of domesticity would no more be caught without a beauty plan than with dust balls under her sofa. And of course it works. At a vital 54, Stewart’s brown-eyed, suburban-sleek visage radiates from magazine covers, book jackets and TV spots. Soreheads may mock, but a multimillion-dollar empire hangs from those second-story cheekbones. And the former fashion model exudes a prim, Doris Day-like sensuality that makes mature men long to take out her neatly bagged trash and preheat her glue gun. “Martha,” says sometime escort Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report chairman, “is a unique combination of the beauty of the orchid and the efficiency of a computer.”
No late bloomer, she is doing business online from her home PC at 5 a.m. Half an hour later she begins her daily exercises (“I don’t have time to sleep!”). In the past few months, the homemaker known for her French cream-puff cake has pared her 5’9″ frame to a taut 138 lbs. with a diet of fish, fruit and vegetables. At night she removes her minimal makeup with Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil, but such low-budget grooming is supplemented with $60 facials and $290 haircuts by celebrity clipper Frederic Fekkai. Her special Martha advice for looking great? “Activity,” she instructs. “That’s what does it. And with good posture, you will always look terrific.” To help her close friends stand tall, Stewart says, “I take Polaroid pictures of them in their usual stance.” When they see the photos, she notes, “they straighten up.” And they don’t forget to wipe their feet on the mat, either.