First Mover: Pilar Guzmán

Martha Stewart Living’s new editor-in-chief is aiming for moms—and not talking stocks

Adweek: Were you crafty growing up?

Pilar Guzmán: I was more arty than crafty. I’ve definitely rediscovered making things with my hands, especially as a parent. Food is a big passion.

AW: Your father was a TV director and your mother was an opera singer and pitchwoman for Good Seasons salad dressing. What was it like growing up?

PG: They were so unconventional. My father was a Renaissance man. He started out as an art director, he cooked. We were constantly going to flea markets. So all the things we do in this magazine are familiar to me. It was very normal to be a very creative person.

AW: Are you anal?

PG: I’m anal about having a stocked refrigerator. My husband [Condé Nast Traveler publisher Chris Mitchell] is a total neatnik. He might out-Martha Martha.

AW: Where do you think Cookie’s readers have gone?

PG:  Hopefully, they’re going to come here. We’re going to add content for the age range that will include moms. Moms are a hot market for everybody. I started reading Martha Stewart Living when I was in my 20s living in a loft in Chinatown with 10 other people. None of it was relevant, but it was incredibly inspiring. So I feel like we could be reaching people as young as 25.

AW: Will you continue your blog, Momfilter, at Martha Stewart Living?

PG: I definitely want to keep it going as a passive project. The sort of changes we’re making here are about inspiration. Publishing has to evolve because of competition from the blogosphere, where there is this demand for authenticity. Authenticity is the new aspirational.

AW: Are you going to bring on any new names?

PG: Yolanda Edwards, the woman I founded Momfilter with, she’s here, and Carl Germann, who was an editor at Cookie. I’m not making a wholesale change, but where I see fit.

AW: Thoughts on apps and their uses for magazines?

PG: I think the big mistake is just to be a glorified PDF on the iPad. I think we need to take a look at what is really special, what do people come to you for. If you look at our egg-dyeing app, it’s a perfect use of our content.

AW: How do you use your iPad?

PG: I read a lot and I check a lot of things out. I look at a lot of ads for their technology.

AW: What’s your favorite place to shop?

PG: I’m a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, so I don’t shop for food anywhere else. It ruins you for anything else.

AW: Is Martha as intimidating as she seems?

PG: No, she’s not; she’s honest. She’s a force of nature. Anyone who’s accomplished what she has is intimidating by definition. She’s direct. I almost feel like it’s an invitation to be direct, too.

AW: Gotten any good stock tips since you’ve been there?

PG: Whoa!