Marissa Mayer is Google’s 20th—or maybe 16th—employee, responsible for such household names as Gmail and Google Maps. But the 34-year-old exec is also addicted to cheese and Oscar de la Renta, and carries an iPhone “to have a non-Google product to better simulate the user,” she says. Mayer, who prizes her Omega De Ville watch and schedules hair appointments two months in advance, talks life and work with Vogue.
Mayer “hitched her wagon to the correct star,” says her Stanford mentor, joining the start-up 10 years ago. Growing up, Mayer tried everything from ballet to cake decorating to golf, and today still defies categorization. She and her lawyer/philanthropist fiancé cook, work late, and cross-country ski. “Do something you’re not ready to do,” Mayer says. “In the worst case, you’ll learn something about your limitations.”