`Don`t live your life to please other people." Talk show host Oprah Winfrey said that once . She learnt it the hard way; but today she mesmerises millions of viewers with her straight from the heart talk and teaches them to live their lives as they feel right and take responsibility for it.
Oprah Winfrey is easily among the most influential women in the world today. Vanity Fair`s 2004 puts her on their top ten International Best - Dressed list , but she is much more than just a well dressed person who mouths nice words.
At 50, Oprah is gorgeous, vivacious, open and a wonderful person. She is also the worlds` most popular talk show host , educator, philanthropist, actress , media moghul and producer , known to millions of fans by her unique first name.
Oprah Winfery was born on January 29 1954 in Kosciusko , Mississippi and reared by her grandmother who taught her to read from the age of 3. Growing up poor and black at a time when most of America was openly racist could not have been easy. Born out of wedlock and later abused and molested by friends and relations many times over, Oprah grew up to be a promiscuous teenager and got herself into a lot of trouble. After the age of 6 she moved in with her mother and later with her father, who she says had a stabilizing influence on her. But books were always her anchors and by the time she was 17 she won herself an award for modeling called "The Miss Fire Prevention Contest" which led to the beginning of her broadcasting career. It was all the more remarkable because she was the first Negro to appear as a newscaster on Nashville television.
But reporting and hardcore journalism were not really suited to Oprah as she was too open to other peoples` sensibilities. She recounts that she would not ask a bereaved mother how she lost her child in an accident , or interview mourners and cry in front of the camera.
She studied as she worked and majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts from the University of Tennesse. In 1976 she moved to Baltimore to join WJZ-TV NEWS as co- anchor and a couple of years later became host of the same channels talk show , " People are Talking" .She was highly motivated by another talk show host , Barbara Walters and in her earlier shows she tried to emulate Walters` style and mannerisms.
It was in January 1984 , that she came to Chicago to host " AM-Chicago" and in less than a year turned it into the hottest show in town. In 1985 , it was re named "The Oprah Winfrey Show". There was no looking back after that and her show won many daytime Grammys . Oprah Winfrey has also acted in a few films . Acting has always been her first love and hosting talk shows was only a stepping stone to stardom when she began. Her sensitive portrayal in Steven Spielbergs "The Colour Purple" won her an Oscar nomination.
What makes The Oprah Winfrey show so appealing that millions of people all over the globe put their work on hold to watch, laugh and cry with the queen of talk? Her single most endearing quality is that she is so open, so real in her shows. With her honesty , earnestness and joy de vivre she reaches out to all kinds of people. " I ask what I want to know." She says and adds, " If you make a mistake , you make a mistake . It`s okay to make a mistake
.You can laugh at your self and make a mistake and its not the end of the world
.. And I think the reason people open up so much on the show is because I open up. I feel comfortable doing it and they know that I am not going to ridicule them."
Power, popularity and position have not managed to take away the basic down -to -earth quality that Oprah projects in all her shows. Honesty is a natural instinct with her. Doing what you feel is right, learning to say "no" to things you dont believe in and recognizing that you are as worthy as the next person, is her most important message. Winfrey has used her popularity and influence to advocate for political causes and her reading club " Oprahs Book Club" has quickly become the most important book marketer in any communications medium. She owns her own show and own company "Harpo Productions Inc" which is really an anagram of her own name.
She works 15 hours a day and she loves to pamper herself with a bubble bath and then spend time reading in bed.
Speaking about her stupendous success as a talk show host Oprah says, " I feel like I would do this if I didn`t get a time for it, and thats why you know youre doing the right thing- because it doesnt even feel like work
..if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come."