7 Things You Never Knew About Arianna Huffington
Jul 15, 2014
We know about her Pulitzer Prize-winning publication, her column on politics, and her inspiring campaign to redefine success. But you probably don’t know about the Huffington Post founder’s awkward childhood moment, her first book on feminism, or her unlikely bedfellow.
In celebration of her 64th birthday, MAKERS shares some surprising facts that set Arianna apart. Click through the slideshow to learn more about the media entrepreneur's life:
1. She’s been in bed with Al Franken. For “Strange Bedfellows,” a segment on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, Arianna and the U.S. Senator from Minnesota talked politics in-between red, white, and blue sheets. Arianna wore a lace nightgown and Al, blue pajamas. “An entirely new group of people started listening to what I was saying,” Arianna told MAKERS. Though the discussion topics and the haircuts are old, the skit is still funny. Arianna's timing is impeccable.
2. When she moved to Cambridge University from Athens, Greece, she barely spoke English. She started debating at the Cambridge Union Society, where Arianna says she taught herself how to speak. “My accent was a huge impediment. When I would speak, people would laugh, literally.” Arianna persevered, and she was later elected president of the Union.
3. She wrote her first book, “The Female Woman,” at age 22. The book argued against the women’s liberation movement at the time and instead advocated for female emancipation, insisting on equal rights and equal opportunity for distinctly female roles.
4. She was once rejected 37 times. “I wanted to write a book which nobody wanted to publish, which was a book on political leadership,” Arianna says. “By rejection 25 I had run out of money.” But she got a loan, and on attempt 38, a publisher accepted the book.
5. Her father published an underground newspaper in Greece. He was arrested during the German occupation and sent to a concentration camp. Arianna remembers, “He had the sense that he could write his own rules.”
6. At 13, she was already five-foot-ten. “I was excluded from the school parade because I was too tall,” Arianna remembers. Her current Twitter bio puts a positive spin on the question of heels: Arianna calls herself a “flat shoe advocate.”
7. She started the nap rooms and meditation classes at Huffington Post Headquarters. “There’s no reason why so many men who succeed should end up with a heart attack in their 50s or 60s,” she told MAKERS. In her 14th book, Thrive, Arianna seeks to define success beyond money and power, promoting healthy living and work-life balance. In accordance, the office’s latest addition is a newsroom hammock.