Oprah Winfrey: The Way Of Life

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“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. This is your moment. Own it.” -Oprah Winfrey. What Oprah meant by this is if there is something in your life that you want to achieve or somewhere you want to go, you won’t be able to get to that point unless you try. Whether you fail or succeed, at least you will know you gave it a chance. Oprah Winfrey is an important and influential figure in history that had a positive impact on the world because she is open about what she has gone through, is a good role model for others, and has made a difference in the way that talk shows are now.

Oprah was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her parents, Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey, were never married and separated shortly after her birth. Her grandmother took care of her on her farm for the first six years of her life, but was abusive and very strict. She taught Oprah how to read by the time she was just three years old, but she would often beat her for minor things such as putting her finger in a bucket of water after she drew it from the well, or getting a blood stain on her Sunday dress from a previous beating. When she was six, Oprah went to live in a ghetto neighborhood which was very run down and unsafe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother and two half-brothers. From the ages of nine through thirteen, it was common for relatives, including her cousin and mother’s boyfriend, to sexually abuse Oprah, which caused her to run away from her home. At age fourteen, she found out she was pregnant from one of her rapists, and decided to keep it, but the baby died shortly after birth. Oprah then moved in with her father in Nashville, Tennessee, where she claims he “turned her life around”, since he would challenge her to learn more and supported her in everything she did. She went to Nashville East High School, and after winning a public speaking contest, was rewarded a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts.

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A big role model for Oprah was Mary Tyler Moore, who Oprah said she looked up to and wanted to be. When she was starting to become a news reporter, she would always watch Mary and never missed a show. At nineteen, Oprah became the first black woman to coanchor the news in Nashville, but she felt like she couldn’t be herself because her bosses would tell her that she wasn’t the right color or shape, and that she was too emotional. In 1977, Oprah became a co-host for a talk show in Baltimore called People are Talking.

Oprah moved to Chicago in 1984 to host AM Chicago, but because of her fun personality making the show successful, it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1985, which ended up running until May 2011. She ended up starring in Steven Spielburg’s The Color Purple, which then led her to play other roles, including a performance in The Women Of Brewster Place, The Butler, Selma and A Wrinkle In Time. She also was the voice of Gussy the goose in Charlotte’s Web and Eudora in The Princess and the Frog. In 1998, she starred in a film called Beloved, but the movie was a flop, which sent her into a depression where she gained thirty pounds from overeating. Oprah has been known the be the first for a lot of different things. For example, at the 2002 Emmy Awards, Oprah became the first person to receive the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, and to this day is still the only woman to have ever gotten the award. She is also “currently North America’s first and only multi-billionaire black person.” In 2003, she was ranked 427 in Forbes magazine’s “World’s Richest People” list, and her net worth is reported to be $2.6 billion.

Winfrey has had a major impact on the world. She has been a big role model for others, especially young black woman, since she showed the world that black woman can make a mark in history. Her confidence and optimism is also very admirable. Oprah’s also changed the way that talk shows are run now. When she hosted The Oprah Winfrey Show, she opened up about her childhood and all the abuse that she had gone through, which allowed others to be able to relate to her. Because of that, her show became way more personal than others. She would ask her audience very personal questions that would make them open up to her and the world, and she wouldn’t discriminate against others. Now, talk shows are a lot more diverse and intimate than before.

Because she is a good role model to others, has made a difference in the way talk shows are hosted, and is open about everything she has been through, Oprah Winfrey is an important and influential figure who has made a positive impact on the world. She is a very confident, optimistic, inspiring, and supporting woman who always has a good attitude and looks on the bright side of things, which earns her a lot of respect from others who aspire to be like her. In spite of every obstacle that she has over to endeavor, Oprah Winfrey has and continues to inspire those who look up to her and prove the ones who doubted her wrong.


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