The Internet Is Torn Over Martha Stewart's Sports Illustrated Cover

new york, new york may 18 martha stewart attends the 2023 sports illustrated swimsuit issue release party at hard rock hotel new york on may 18, 2023 in new york city photo by noam galaigetty images for sports illustrated swimsuit
Martha Stewart's Sports Illustrated Cover ReactionNoam Galai

Martha Stewart: Businesswoman, television personality, hostess extraordinaire, and now, Sports Illustrated cover model. For its iconic Swimsuit Issue—which has historically featured femme fatales like Kim Kardashian and Tyra Banks—the magazine tapped the 81-year-old entrepreneur to grace the 2023 edition. (She might be the oldest cover star in Swimsuit Issue history, but let's not forget that she started out modeling decades ago. A full circle moment, if you will.)

"My motto has always been: 'When you’re through changing, you’re through,'" the cover star wrote on Instagram. "So I thought, why not be up for this opportunity of a lifetime?"

As with any history-making, iconic moment, Martha's photoshoot is not without some naysayers. One Sports Illustrated fan wrote, "This would be so impressive to see without photoshop editing—it would be nice to have real representation of what women look like without being perfected." Another follower agreed: "Let's not pretend that these photos aren't comprised entirely of plastic surgery, photoshop and at 81? sure but there isn't one authentic thing about any of these pics." (For the record, Martha says she's had "absolutely no plastic surgery whatsoever." Instead, she creates her Benjamin Button-like appearance to pilates, clean eating, and being careful in the sun. In preparation for the shoot, she said, she cut out alcohol, upped her weekly exercise routine, and got "a complete body wax.")

Overall, however, the response has been very, very good. When Martha posted her closeup—which featured her in a minimalist white maillot and a dessert-tone coverup—fans were quick to celebrate the historic moment. "Bombshell and brilliant always," one fan wrote. Another joked, "Martha leave some men for the rest of us." Celebrities including Jennifer Garner, Ellen Pompeo, and Ashley Graham gushed over the breathtaking photos. (In fact, Drew Barrymore wrote, "See! I aways say [YOU'RE] HOT.")

Regardless as to where your opinion falls on the reaction spectrum, one thing's for sure: Martha's photoshoot is downright motivating. "I hope this cover inspires you to challenge yourself to try new things, no matter what stage of life you are in," she wrote on Instagram. "Changing, evolving, and being fearless—those are all very good things, indeed." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

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