Marissa Mayer Hates Purple and Cupcakes, Okay?

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Photo: NBC NewsWire/Getty Images

Being a company figurehead means holding your tongue and keeping a good face, even when certain aspects of your job might rub you the wrong way. If you prefer PCs, you probably shouldn't work at Apple. And if you skew goth, a job at Justice is probably out. And there are other hardships, like being at odds with your company's branding and having the entire world mistake you for a tiny-fat-bomb-loving purple fanatic.

In that sense, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer can be considered a brave soldier, working for the notoriously purple-obsessed company when she herself disdains the hue.

In a Fast Company cover story, Ms. Mayer admits that the purple zeal is not something she shares: 

"It was once written up that my favorite color is purple," Mayer says. "But it's actually like this urban legend on the web." (The legend even predates her Yahoo tenure: a 2008 San Francisco magazine profile, published years before she left Google, claimed she was "infatuated with the color purple.")

She also remembers speaking with a reporter several years back for an interview in which she mentioned her skill for trend forecasting. Asked what was next, she predicted cupcakes would be all the rage (make it stop!). Later, at a women-in-technology conference, she was met with a trap of her own making: 

"[At the conference] literally it was like 'We have this great surprise for you!' And they flung this door open, and it was a room bathed in purple, with cupcakes. I was like, 'Noooooooo!' I was very gracious about it. But it was like all the incorrectness of the web in a room."

Hostile work environment, indeed.