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Martha Stewart’s Right-Hand Man - The New York Times

Category: Art & Culture,Arts & Design

When she was freelancing as a stylist for Weddings, Wendy Goodman, a writer who specializes in interior design, said Mr. Sharkey’s grand floral displays left her “breathless.” His talent, self-effacement and respect for colleagues are an “intoxicating combination,” she said. “You just want to be with him every day.”

Darcy Miller, the former editor of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, spoke of him as an office confidant and a candid colleague. “He can say things to her no one else can,” she said.

For decades, Ms. Stewart endured snarky profiles about her craft projects and sendups of her perfectionism on shows like “Saturday Night Live.” These days, as the spare, natural-lit and handmade style she championed has been widely imitated — by Kinfolk magazine, Pottery Barn and others — Ms. Stewart appears to have the last laugh. She even owns and monetizes her caricatures.

“Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” an Emmy-nominated cooking show on VH1 with the rapper Snoop Dogg that has Ms. Stewart downing tequila shots, was renewed for a third season. And her surprisingly blue roast of Justin Bieber for Comedy Central, where she joked about surviving the five months she spent in prison beginning in 2004 after being convicted of lying to investigators about a stock trade, was a hit. At 77, Ms. Stewart — still a competitive business woman of “protean competence,” as Joan Didion once wrote in The New Yorker — walks a little slower, albeit in five-inch Prada booties. But she’s still expanding her empire, and also, has probably plowed four miles of snow from her farm in Bedford, N.Y., before you’ve switched on the coffee maker.

In March, she announced she would advise a Canadian cannabis grower on hemp-based CBD for people and pets. And she has found other platforms for her merchandise: Last February, she missed her beloved chow chow Empress Qin compete (unsuccessfully) for “best in show” at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February because she was selling her trademark puffer jacket on QVC.

Amid it all, Ms. Stewart has not chosen a successor. Asked if she envisioned handing the reins to Mr. Sharkey, she smiled, arched a brow and said, “You never know.” She mused aloud about whether Coco Chanel retired or worked until her death — Ms. Chanel died in her 90s in a middle of designing a collection — and said, lightly, “maybe I’ll have to die.”


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