Written by Mandi Ringgenberg
Today, the millionaire TV star, author, actor, producer, journalist, all-around superstar turns 65 yo. Throughout the years, we’ve watched Winfrey rise to stardom on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (1986-2011), creating memorable moments for over 23 seasons.
In the years of success of Winfrey’s televised show, it brought community and strength in diverse forms. She showed us our favorite stars were just like us, and that people like us were super stars.
With the fame heavy on her shoulders, and many, many ratings to oversee–for television, film and best-selling novels–compassion, at the end of the day fuels Winfrey.
It was clear, television wasn’t the only stop in her career. Winfrey’s love for all things fashion and lifestyle bled into her other projects, including the O Magazine, Book Club Oprah Winfrey, original food and wellness line. With her background in cable TV, The OWN network was birthed, garnering today many popular television shows championed predominantly by all-black casts.
Coming from a ‘centered place’ and ‘willingness’ to understand
During the O.W. Show, she brought audiences unforgettable moments; Matthew Perry opening up about his drug addiction during the filming of “Friends”, Tom Cruise jumping on her show sofa couch, and donated cars to every individual in her audience.
As a child, I remember getting home from school, greeting my mother in the kitchen, and without missing a beat, me, my mother, and Oprah, would go and sit on the couch, and listen for the next hour what trending stories where happening among other families. In a time when social media wasn’t a catalyst for conversation, the television connected regular blue-collar homes with Hollywood.
Her smart and sharp business tactics and ably to connect herself with her audience laid the ground work for over 30 years of success in every media. To this day, Winfrey continues to fight for equality, praise thoughts that work with compassion, and change the ‘status quo’.
“I come from a centered place. I come from a focused place. I come from a compassion, it’s just my nature. I come from a willingness to understand, and to be understood. And I come from wanting to connect,” she said in a panel at the Standford Graduate School of Business.
The secret to her show, and way of business, Winfrey says, is keeping a clear head what success means, and not letting it overcome the core of who you are.
“The secret of [The Oprah Winfrey Show] for 25 years is that people could see themselves in me, all over the world. And even as I became more and more financially successful–which was a big surprise to me, [thinking] ‘oh my God, this is so exciting!’ But what I realized is through the whole process because I am grounded in my own self. That although I could have more shoes, my feet stayed on the ground… I could understand that it really was because I was grounded.”