THE INSPIRING STORY OF OPRAH WINFREY
Honored as one of 2006''s most influential people of the world by Time Magazine, former South African President Nelson Mandela spoke of Oprah Winfrey as "an icon" in making a difference in the lives of people, no matter what their gender, color, or race may be.
For 20 years now, Oprah Winfrey has been an indomitable figure both in the entertainment industry and in philantrophy. At 53, she is the richest African-American woman, amassing a fortune Forbes.com estimated at around $1.5 billion.
A sucessful businesswoman, she is the lady behind a string of successful television shows and films. Sha has also left her mark in acting, earning an Academy Award nomination for a supporting role in the critically acclaimed Color Purple (1986). But it was her long-running, self-titled talk show that ultimately made her "America''s favorite heroine."
The Oprah Winfrey Show has remained No. 1 for 20 consecutive seasons in the daytime scene. But her present success won''t be porssible if it were not for the hardships she has went through.
Born out of wedlock in 1954, Oprah spent her childhood on rural Mississipi farm of her grandparents. When she was 6 years old, she went to live with her mother, and later with her father in Nashville, Tennessee.
Oprah''s fundness for reading and a gift to converse rewarded her a scholarship to a well-off school. It was while attending Tennessee State University that her broadcasting career began in earnest. She was then 14, and the youngest and first African-American to work in the local TV station in Nashville.
After Oprah transferred to Baltimore, she worked as the co-anchor of The Six O''clock News. After showing some promise in relaxed conversation, she was given her own show, People are Talking. It was here that success began to stalk her.
Her breakthrough came after she hosted solo AM Chicago. By the first month of the show''s airing, AM Chicago outrated the rival show Donahue . Confident with its success, the show was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. It went to national syndication in 1986 and from then on, it remained as the highest-rating show in the United States, with Oprah becoming a household name. In 1988, she established her own production company, Harpo, Inc. making her the third female African-American to own a studio.
But despite her phenomenal success, Oprah has never hidden the fact that she was a child abuse victim, impregnated and miscarried a baby while still a teenager, and underwent a series of abusive relationships. These tales, instead, made her an inspiration to millions of women that have suffered the same fate as hers.
Through the power of television, Oprah was able to bridge the audience from the story, making her show more conversational and felt by the audience. She has also used her unfaltering charisma to uplift the watchers'' morale, inspiring others to improve their lives and herself the example for them to follow.
Through her Angel Foundation, she has already poured some $50 million to various causes. Her latest project, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls min South Africa, aims to promote quality education to those unfortunate girls. Oprah truly inspires people to care by showing them that she does.
To sum it all, her show, and her life, is a showcase of kindness, love, and humanity.