It's the Duel of the Domestic Divas:
Martha Vs. Rachael
By Stacy Jenel Smith
Holy homemakers! Domestic divas frying each other! Yes, the great Martha Stewart endured both federal prison and Donald Trump -- only to find real trouble in the form of a preternaturally peppy cook with no formal training by the name of Rachael Ray, sweeping into her territory big time. The battle has been joined, between Spice Crusted Salmon Skewers and Sloppy Joes, Turkey Hill elegance and Block Party panache, upscale and downtown, perfectionism and casualness. Have your skillets ready, ladies, the cook-off is about to begin.
Pix of Martha Stewart
Pix of Rachael Ray
Real Name: Martha Helen Kostyra
Age: 65 (d.o.b. August 3, 1941)
Born: Jersey City, New Jersey
Raised: Nutley, New Jersey
Height: 5' 9-1/2"
| ||Rachael Ray|
Real Name: Rachael Domenica Ray
Age: 38 (d.o.b. August 25, 1968)
Born: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Raised: Upstate New York
Height: 5' 3"
|Fat of the matter: It's been widely-publicized that Stewart lost around 20 pounds while in the slammer, and we know she looks good now - but she keeps her weight under wraps.|| ||Fat of the matter: Top secret, even from herself. She reportedly demands that she not be told her weight when put on the scale at her MD's. Admits, "I've got jeans in [sizes] 4, 6 and 8." |
| Roots: Polish-American parents.|| ||Roots: Italian-American mother, French-American father |
|Not feeling the love: "Martha has been quoted as calling Rachael "an ADD homemaker" who is exhausting to watch.|| ||Not feeling the love: Often called the anti-Martha, is said to have a plaque in her home that reads "Martha Stewart doesn't live here." |
|Moneybags: Her net worth has been estimated at $970 million. Through her daughter Alexis, she controls about 60 percent of her Martha Stewart Omnimedia stock -- an equity stake valued at more than $1 billion. || ||Moneybags: According to Forbes magazine, Ray's been earning about $6 million a year from her books and television shows. Don't be surprised if that's increasing exponentially as you read this. |
|Pooch Power: Stewart's French Bulldog, Francesca, has her own following. People have sent photos of their own dogs wearing sweaters like one Francesca has been seen wearing. Martha was honored with a PETA Humanitarian Award for renouncing fur and hosting PETA's fur-trade exposé.|| ||Pooch Power: Her Pit Bull, Isaboo, came into her life after the death of her beloved Pit Bull, Boo. She devoted an entire episode of her "30 Minute Meals" to Boo. She also includes pet recipes in her magazine, since she believes furry friends are as entitled to tasty healthy fare as two-legged folk. || |
|Sexy: While in high school, Martha began a modeling career that led to her appearance in many magazine ads and in TV commercials for Breck, Clairol, Lifebuoy soap and Tareyton cigarettes. Was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World 1996." || ||Sexy: The former cheerleader posed for FHM magazine in 2003, including shots of her licking chocolate off a big wooden spoon and sitting in a sudsy sink. Twice in the top 100 Sexiest U.S. Women named by FHM.|
|Fame: Let's face it, comparing Stewart's achievements to those of most others in her field is like watching the United States Olympic Team march out as compared to that of Chad. Where to begin? Her Emmys, her induction into Washington, D.C.'s Academy of Achievement? Her paint line at Sears? Her home goods at K mart? Her books, her gardening products, her holiday collections? Her new home building venture in North Carolina? Her Martha Stewart Living magazine (which topped off its circulation at 2 million in 2002)? Her TV specials and shows - including "Martha Stewart Living," her short-lived edition of "The Apprentice," and her current "Martha" daytime show? Her 24-hour-a-day radio channel on Sirius satellite network, on which she has a weekly call-in chat program? Ana Gasteyer's parodies of her on "Saturday Night Live"? Or the way she sucked it up and endured a 5-month prison sentence at Alderson Federal Prison Camp with admiral dignity and then staged a mighty comeback? || ||Fame: Her career is thermonuclear hot, with her latest coup being her syndicated talk show, an instant monster hit when it debuted in September. It had the highest-rated debut for any such program since the launch of fellow Oprah protegé Dr. Phil's in 2002, and now, it averages 2.3 million viewers, 46 per cent more than Martha Stewart's. In New York, it bests "Martha Stewart" three to one. She also has four Food Network shows (her signature "30 Minute Meals," plus "$40 a Day," "Inside Dish" and "Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels"), has 14 popular cookbooks out, and her Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine defies the shrinking print market trends, jumping from a 350,000 rate base in its launch last year to 1,700,000 by the end of summer '07 as it goes from bi-monthly to 10 issues a year. She also has her own product lines, including cutlery.|
|Infamy: Stewart was sentenced to five months in federal prison, five months of house arrest, two years probation and a $30,000 fine for lying about her ImClone stock sale. She paid a far heavier price in other ways, as the insider trading scandal cost her the cancellation of her television show, drops in advertising in her magazines, and her post as chairman and CEO of her own company - which reportedly hasn't made money since 2002 and in 2005 lost $76 million. Those were the years prior to and including her incarceration at Alderson Federal Prison Camp, a.k.a. "Camp Cupcake." The ordeal was so closely watched and heatedly debated (Martha didn't deserve it; she was a scapegoat, etc.) it obscured other Martha notoriety. Stories of her overbearing personality, for instance, or the timing of her departure from the stockbroker business. It coincided with her wanting to devote time to motherhood, sure, but also to a scandal involving accusations of kickbacks unfolding at her former firm. || ||Infamy: Uses supermarket shortcuts such as cornbread mix and chocolate sauce. Uses cutesy verbal shortcuts, too - such as "sammies" instead of sandwiches, and her notorious E.V.O.O. instead of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Her critics seem to carry an unusually high anger quotient, as she inspired - among other things -- the Rachael Ray Sucks online community, a forum in which scary people we never want to meet call her names like "Rat-trap" and "Faudtard" and hold forth about why they hate her. "I've seen that bloated swamp donkey's daytime G-rated crapfest twice…" "her hair and face look oompa loompa orange…" "The sleep deprivation is showing in her fluctuating weight and the dark circles under her wee beady eyes." Goodness! Elsewhere in the media stew, she's been accused of being fat, having "man hands," being unqualified (she readily agrees) to talk about cooking, and having an "insufferably cloying personality." |
|Rise to the top: The self-made mogul of all things domestic learned to cook and sew from her mother, also named Martha, and picked up a love of gardening from her father, Eddie. An over-achiever from the start, she earned straight A's in school - in addition to being involved in such extra-curricular activities as the school newspaper - leading to her achieving a partial scholarship to Barnard to Barnard College in New York. After marrying then-law student Andy Stewart, she graduated with a double major in History and Architectural History. She became a stockbroker in 1967 and became highly successful, naturally, but left the field in '73. In 1976, she started a catering business. She served as manager of a gourmet food store. It was Kismet when she gave a party that included Crown Publishing Group chieftain Alan Mirken - and he was so impressed with her entertaining skills he asked her about writing a party cookbook. The fruit of that collaboration was the New York Times best seller "Entertaining," and Martha was off and running. || ||Rise to the top: She's from a food family, which owned a restaurant in Massachusetts. Her mother managed restaurants in upstate New York, and at one time she was the food supervisor for several Howard Johnson's (Rachael waitressed at a Ho-Jo's for awhile). She says her mother, Elsa Scuderi, is her ultimate role model, "my first Oprah," who she regularly saw working 100-hour weeks. Her parents divorced when she was a young teen. Rachael's own food career started off inauspiciously -- selling candy at Macy's - but soon she was managing the store's fresh food department, then moving on to work in other gourmet food stores in New York City and back in her beloved Adirondack Mountains. She became a buyer and chef at the Cowan & Lobel market in Albany, New York. She began demonstrating her 30 Minute Meals for time-pressed customers at a gourmet food store, graduated to local TV, to visits on the "Today" show and other national television show guestings, to the Food Network, to where she is today. |
|Personal: Divorced from Andy Stewart in 1990, she has one child, daughter Alexis, now 41. Former Microsoft Corp. executive Charles Simonyi has been described as her "man friend." Her homes include her country spread in Bedford, N.Y. She has some 400 file boxes full of encouraging missives from fans sent during her imprisonment ordeal. "I'm a preserver of history. I still have all my receipts from everything I've bought in my life," she told us. || ||Personal: Married attorney and part-time The Cringe band member Ray John Cusimano in September 2005. They have a New York City apartment and a cabin in the woods in upstate New York. As far as having kids, she says she's too busy to even be a good mother to her dog, let alone a child. || |
|Martha on Martha: "I have set a standard, and I am going to stick to the standard." || ||Rachael on Rachael: "I'm high-strung … I've been in a knot since birth. I want to stay that way."|Syndicated Columnists
Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are featured in over 100 print publications and other media outlets with cutting edge celebrity news and insider scoop. Have a burning showbiz question?
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