Arianna Huffington will celebrate her 70th birthday on July 15th. For this Greek-American author, media mogul and businesswoman it seems everything she touches turns to gold. Some of you may find yourself asking ‘who is Arianna Huffington?’ and so ahead of her milestone birthday, Historic Newspapers looks back on the life of one of the most influential figures in modern media to mark her milestone birthday. To celebrate her seven impressive decades, perhaps she can add our personalised birthday book to her growing library?
Arianna Huffington (Image Credit WikiMedia Commons)
Who is Arianna Huffington?
Born Ariadne-Anna Stassinopoúlou on July 15, 1950 in Athens, Greece, Arianna Huffington has led an extremely successful career. She has no doubt been influenced by her father, a journalist and management consultant himself, and often credits her supportive mother for her outlook on life.
At the age of 16 Arianna moved to the UK and went on to study at Cambridge University. During her time there she became the first foreign-born president of the Cambridge Union before graduating with a master’s degree in economics.
In 1973 she published her first book The Female Woman, which was a direct attack on Germaine Greer’s 1970 book The Female Eunich. Within the book Huffington argued that, though women may be unfairly discriminated in the workplace, values of marriage and family are also within their priorities. It was these values and a desire to start a family which broke up her relationship with journalist Bernard Levin, whom she had met when appearing on a weekly BBC TV programme in 1971.
Huffington moved to New York in 1980 to start fresh and met her husband, Michael Huffington in 1985. The two married in ’86 and had two daughters together; Christina born in 1989, and Isabella born in ’91. Huffington became a naturalised American citizen in 1990 and supported her Republican husband in becoming elected to the US House of Representatives in ‘92.
Politics and Professional Life
Michael Huffington campaigned for Senator two years later but was unsuccessful. The pair divorced in 1997, though they continue to have a friendly relationship, even going on family holidays together. Arianna, however, had cemented herself as a figure of the Republican movement and supporter of right-wing figures. It was this association which made her 2004 public announcement endorsing John Kerry’s run for president all the more surprising. When asked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart she stated, “When your house is burning down, you don’t worry about the remodelling.”
In 2003 the recall election of California Governor, Gray Davis saw Huffington as an independent candidate pitted against Arnold Schwarzenegger; as she phrased it, “the hybrid versus the Hummer”. Though she dropped out at the end of September, the ballot was too late to be changed and she took 1% of the vote.
In 2005, Huffington co-founded a new media venture, The Huffington Post. This website was unlike any other news outlet, allowing columnists and bloggers from around the world to have a platform. It quickly become one of the widest read media brands on the internet, frequently cited by news channels. It became the first website to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2012. 2006 saw Huffington’s name appear within the Time Magazine’s list of the 100, most influential people in the world; a list she would appear on for the second time in 2011.
Change of Priorities
One defining point of Huffington’s life came in 2007 when she woke in a pool of blood from a head injury after collapsing in her office. Numerous medical tests were carried out on Huffington leading to a diagnosis of exhaustion. This spurred a new outlook on life, putting emphasis on work-life balance within Huffington’s ventures. A few years later in 2011, instead of owning the Huffington Post it was sold for a whopping $315 million to AOL who made Arianna Huffington the president and editor-in-chief. She continued her successful career and was named within the Forbes Magazine’s Most Powerful Women list in 2013.
The subject of her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was less political than most of her previous titles and instead focused on self-improvement while reflecting on her career so far. The book entered the New York Times’ hardcover nonfiction list at No. 1 in 2014 and became an international bestseller shortly after.
In 2015 she resigned from the Huffington Post to pursue other ventures, founding Thrive Global in August 2016, and her new site was then launched in November of the same year. Thrive Global’s mission statement is to offer scientifically based support and solutions to combat stress and sleep deprivation; raising awareness of burnout caused by striving for success at the cost of mental and physical health. Huffington’s aim was to enlighten people to a new way of working, stating, “We think mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of the time we put in at work, instead of the quality of the time we put in.”
In May of 2016 she was awarded an honorary degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine and that same year she was named one on the SuperSoul100 SuperSoul100 list of visionaries and influential leaders by Oprah Winfrey.
Arianna Huffington’s net worth currently stands at around $50 million and she presently sits on the board of directors for numerous companies, including Global Citizen, Onex, and Uber, to name a few. So far she has published 15 books, including her latest 2016 title, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time and shows no sign of slowing down.