Known as the “Queen of All Media” and the greatest black philanthropist in American history, Oprah Winfrey continues to prove to women that no dream is too big if you set your heart to it.
Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
Here are some Exceptional Facts about Oprah Winfrey
- Oprah Winfrey is the first black woman billionaire and the richest African-American woman.
- She is also referred to by many as the most influential woman in the world.
- Her production company is called Harpo, which is Oprah spelled backwards.
- Winfrey was named “Orpah” after the biblical character in the Book of Ruth on her birth certificate, but people mispronounced it regularly and “Oprah” stuck.5. Every week, her email box gets flooded by 12,000 e-mails from fans all over the world.
- As a child, Oprah Winfrey was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her ability to recite Bible verses as her grandmother often took her to church
- At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.
- Oprah Winfrey’s family was so poor growing up that, as a child, Winfrey was teased at school for wearing dresses made of potato sacks.
- Oprah Winfrey openly discussed her childhood sexual abuse suffered at the hands of male relatives and her mother’s friends on a special episode of her show focusing on sexual abuse in 1986.
- The power of Oprah’s opinions and endorsement to influence public opinion, especially consumer purchasing choices, has been dubbed “The Oprah Effect.”
11.Oprah was anchoring the news at Nashville’s WTVF-TV when she was just 19, making her the youngest person and the first African-American woman to hold the position.
12. Winfrey has donated her voice for an array cartoon characters, voicing Gussie the goose for Charlotte’s Web, and Eudora, the mother of Princess Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, among others.
13. Oprah Winfrey has interviewed countless celebrities, including Michael Jackson, whose interview became the 4thmost watched event in American television history, as well as the most watched interview of all-time, with 36 million viewers.
14. Winfrey is credited for popularizing the intimate, confessional form of talk show, which has since become common across cable networks. The Wall Street Journal coined the term “Oprahfication”, meaning public confession as a form of therapy. By confessing intimate details about her weight problems, tumultuous love life, and sexual abuse, and crying alongside her guests, Time magazine credits Winfrey with creating a new form of media communication known as “rapport talk.”
15. In 1998, she shed several pounds down to a size 8 to pose for photographer Annie Liebovitz for a Vogue magazine shoot. She became the first African-American to be on the cover of Vogue Magazine.
16. In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian honor) by President Barack Obama.
17. She started dating Stedman Graham in 1986. They were engaged to be married in November 1992, but the wedding ceremony never took place. They are still together.
18. She currently lives on “The Promised Land”, her 42-acre estate with ocean and mountain views in Montecito, California. Oprah also owns a house in Lavallette, New Jersey; an apartment in Chicago; an estate on Fisher Island, Florida; a ski house in Telluride, Colorado; and property on Maui, Hawaii and Antigua.
Here are our favorite quotes from the Queen:
Thank you for changing the world and inspiring us. We love you!