Oprah Winfrey is the 63-year-old lady who hosted the highest-rated television show of all time in the US, The Oprah Winfrey Show, for 25 years. She owns a magazine and has a television network. She is the richest African American. Oprah is the first black multi-billionaire in America. She is popular for her friendly style of talking on her chat show and helping people around her.
She is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and influential women in the world. Her journey to the reigning queen of the media world has been awe-inspiring as she wasn’t born into a rich family. She made her own way to fame and success surviving countless hardships and setbacks in life.
Oprah Winfrey was born in a village in acute poverty in the year 1954 in Mississippi. She was born to a teenage unmarried girl, Vernita Lee who worked as a housemaid. Till the age of six, Oprah lived with her grandmother. Oprah used to go to school wearing dress made of potato sacks. Later she went to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey who was a coal miner in Nashville, Tennessee.
Her childhood was a pleasant one due to being born in a family lacking education and money. ‘I was raped at the age of nine by a cousin, then again by another family member, and another family member,’ Oprah Winfrey confessed on her show in 1986.
As a result of these sexual assaults, Oprah became pregnant at the tender age of 14. She gave birth to a premature baby boy who died shortly after birth. Despite all these hardships in personal life, Oprah excelled in academics. She was especially talented in public speech and drama. She got a full scholarship to Tennessee State University.
At the age of 17, Oprah won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty title. She got a job in a local radio station, WVOL, to read the news part-time. She was a high school student at this time. At the age of 19, she dropped out of college to pursue a job at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. She became the youngest, and the first black, female news anchor. Oprah later found a job in WJZ-TV to co-host the evening news. But her emotional style did not suit a news programme. So she was given a daytime chat show, People Are Talking, in 1978.
Oprah Winfrey’s candidness and open-talking soon made her a popular chat-show host. Oprah had another desire of pursuing a career in the film industry. In 1985 she got a role in a movie. Her role as Sofia in The Color Purple won her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Oprah has appeared in movies including Beloved, The Butler and Selma.
“My thing is: do it. You want to see the changes? Then get out there and make them yourself.” Oprah Winfrey
Today Oprah is the queen of an empire estimated around $3 billion. She has six luxury homes in California and other cities of USA.
It was one of the moments of perfect alignment she speaks of – Oprah had found her calling. When, in 1984, she relocated to Chicago to take over a morning chat show, its name was quickly changed from AM Chicago to The Oprah Winfrey Show. It was syndicated nationally, quickly becoming the No1 talk show in the US.
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham, 66, have been in a live-in relationship for almost 30 years. They planned to get married in the early 1990s but postponed it due to a clash with a book launch! But it seems they don’t care for the wedding tag on their relationship. It’s not even an issue,’ ‘The relationship works.’ says Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey owns Harpo Productions. ‘My idea was to tell stories that affected the human spirit, stories people could see themselves in,’ ‘And mostly black people – [when I set it up] there were few opportunities for us to see our history, culture and our daily lives reflected on screen.’ says Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey represents modern women who refuse to give up under any circumstances. She fought poverty, hardships, sexual abuse everything to emerge as the unrivaled queen of the media world. Oprah inspires millions of women around the world who dare to dream.
My Favorite Quotes From Oprah Winfrey
- When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”
- “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment”
- “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
- “Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
- “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
- “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”
- “One of the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn”
- “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”
- “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”
- “Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.”
- “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.”
- “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.”“The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.”
- “Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
- “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire.”
- “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”