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Arianna Huffington
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Arianna Huffington

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Arianna Huffington is a prolific author and international media mogul who started the award-winning news platform The Huffington Post.

Who Is Arianna Huffington?

Arianna Huffington studied economics at the University of Cambridge, eventually moving to the United States. She was a conservative commentator before switching to liberal politics and started the Web site The Huffington Post in 2005. The site, purchased by AOL in 2011, has gone on to become a popular and powerful online news platform. Huffington is also the author of more than a dozen books on topics ranging from feminism to corporate America to politics. In 2016, Huffington announced her departure from The Huffington Post to launch Thrive Global, a start-up company dedicated to health and wellness.

Early Life

Arianna Huffington was born Arianna Stassinopoulus in Athens, Greece, on July 15, 1950. She moved to Great Britain during her teens to study at the University of Cambridge, where she earned her master's in economics and became president of its famed debate organization, the Cambridge Union. She then set up shop in London and pursued writing. In 1974, with Random House, she published her first book, The Female Woman, which looks at and critiques certain trends in women's liberation movements. She followed that with the political-oriented work After Reason in 1980.

The Move to the United States

Stassinopoulus moved to the United States in 1980 after a stalled romance in London with writer Bernard Levin. The following year, she released an acclaimed biography of one of the world's opera greats, Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend. In 1983, she was able to plumb her ethnic roots with the work The Gods of Greece, which looked at the importance of ancient myths, and by the end of the decade she had also released a biography of Picasso.

In 1986, Stassinopoulis wed Michael Huffington, a secretary within the U.S. Department of Defense, and the couple had two children. Michael Huffington earned a seat as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1993 and 1995, and Arianna aided him in his subsequent Senate campaign, although he lost. The two would divorce in 1997.

Race for the California Governor's Office

Huffington was initially known for her conservative political views and commentary, and she made regular television appearances to support her standpoints. But she eventually began to embrace more left-leaning platforms, including ecological activism and corporate reform.

In 2003, Huffington ran on the Independent ticket against Arnold Schwarzenegger for the California governorship, but she withdrew from campaigning to throw her support behind thwarting the recall vote aimed at Governor Gray Davis. That same year, she had a New York Times bestseller: Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America.

'The Huffington Post' and Thrive Global

In 2005, Huffington launched the online site The Huffington Post, co-founding the platform with Kenneth Lerer and becoming its editor-in-chief. The site was initially known for its blogging, liberal punditry and news aggregation, a rebuttal to right-leaning aggregation sites such as The Drudge Report. Over the years, however, it has grown to cover a wide range of media categories, from politics to sports to business, to name a few. By 2008, The Observer ranked The Huffington Post as the most powerful blog in the world.

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While the Web site took off, Huffington continued to write books as well, and in 2007 she released On Becoming Fearless ... in Love, Work, and Life, which would later become the inspiration for a 2013 Huffington Post blog series.

In 2011, Huffington sold the site to AOL for more than $300 million, and she subsequently became president and editor-in-chief of the company's Huffington Post Media Group. Huffington Post writer David Wood won the site a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, and the site's success has made possible corresponding international editions in Canada, Great Britain, France and Spain, among several other countries. 

Huffington herself has also been recognized in various media outlets, appearing on Time magazine's 100 list (a collection of the 100 most influential people in the world) and Forbes' special rundown of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women," which saw her move to number 52 in 2014.

Huffington's 13th book, Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, was released in 2010, and her 14th, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published in 2014, debuting at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list.

In August 2016, Huffington announced that she would be leaving The Huffington Post after 11 years to launch Thrive Global, a start-up company and digital platform dedicated to health and wellness. 

Other Activities

Huffington suffered a facial injury in 2007 after fainting in her office due to severe exhaustion and overwork. Since then, she has pushed a platform of individuals maintaining a balance between work, good health and life/enjoyment and has positioned the work/life balance as an important reform for companies to place at the forefront of their culture.

Huffington also appeared as Arianna the Bear, a talking animated ursine character, over the course of The Cleveland Show's four-year run.

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