Fab, Fearless Females: Oprah Winfrey

By: Honey Good

We all know her and love her. She's broken barriers and achieved successes that far surpassed anyone's expectations. Today, she's amassed a net worth of 3 BILLION dollars and she's not stopping anytime soon! She's had trials and tribulations along with many-a-success story and touched more lives than any of us ever will. Who is this charismatic woman and how did she become the Oprah Winfrey that we've all come to admire? 

I'll tell you because the darling Ms. "O" is our fab, fearless female of the week!

Becoming Oprah...

Born on January 29, 1954 in rural Mississippi to a single mother, Oprah took her future into her own hands. Through hard work and determination she went on to pursue broadcast television starting with a TV chat show in 1976 called People Are Talking. Her warm heart and sharp sense of humor won people over quickly as her show became nationally syndicated eventually replacing Donahue and putting her at the top of the rankings. Her infamous talk show aired from 1986 to 2011. The first year alone her show brought in 125 million.

Americans fell in love with her for her authenticity. She often put her own personal life on the line, from addiction to weight loss. Her humanistic approach and relatable attitude brought the best out of virtually any interviewee. Even the rambunctious Tom Cruise with his infamous couch jumping episode!

After taking in 30 million in her first year she then took ownership of the brand and launched her own production company called Harpo Productions (Oprah spelled backwards) right here in Chicago. In 1994, Oprah pledged to change the format of her show vowing to keep her show tabloid free. This small change in format led to even greater success as the most beloved talk show host in television history.

With the debut in 1999 of Oxygen Media, Winfrey secured her place in the media industry and as one of the most powerful and wealthy people in show business. 

In 2000, Oprah went on to launch O Magazine. She then launched her Sirius Talk Show in 2009 and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2011. Despite a rough start, the network made headlines in January 2013, when it aired an interview with Lance Armstong, the cyclist and Tour de France winner who was stripped of his seven Tour titles in 2012 due to doping charges. During the interview, Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing substances. "I am deeply flawed ... and I'm paying the price for it, and I think that's okay. I deserve this," he stated. The interview reportedly brought in millions of dollars in revenue for OWN.

Philanthropy & Beyond...

Oprah's Angel Network, one of many passion projects, has raised more than $51,000,000 for girls' education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

She is a force of nature and has achieved an incredible amount of success. She's been named as one the most influential woman of her generation (TIME Magazine) and the first African American to achieve a net worth in excess of 3 billion dollars. She's been dubbed the "Queen of All Media" and "The Most Powerful Celebrity" by Forbes Magazine in 2013.

She's an educator, entertainer, a philanthropist, a publisher, a producer and our friend. Remember her role in The Color Purple? The Women of Brewster Place?

In November 2013, Winfrey received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

When Oprah gives her stamp of endorsement...you're set. It's a known fact in any industry. Oprah has catapulted both entrepreneurs and entertainers into wild, overnight success. Known as "The Oprah Effect" we can brainstorm famous authors through Oprah's Book Club to countless other designers, artists and retailers who have felt the love of our beloved Lady O. Oprah Winfrey turns brands into household names.

Most of all, we admire Oprah for being a woman of her word and paving the way for other fearless females with big dreams. She makes us Chicagoans proud to call her one of our own and empowers us to never give up pursuing our dreams because really...success can come at any age.

Let's all raise a glass to Ms. Oprah. She is a role model for all generations. I, personally, can't wait to see what she'll do next!

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