Who is Oprah?By Krzysztof KreftMedia personality and business tycoon Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 inKosciusko, Mississippi. Her television talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, has caused her togain significant influence and recognition in the whole USA. Known to her fans as a loving andcompassionate woman, Oprah continues to expand her reach as a celebrity, businesswoman,philanthropist and author.Early lifeOprah was born to unmarried parents Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey, during their teenageyears. She spent the first six years of her life in poverty, often being ridiculed by other childrenin their neighborhood for wearing dresses made from potato sacks.When she moved with her mother to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she suffered sexual abuse fromher cousin and her uncle, as well as from a family friend. At fourteen, her mother sent her tolive with her father Vernon, who, according to Oprah herself, was very supportive andencouraging of her. Through him, Oprah was able to garner awards in school, which led her toearn scholarships as well.EducationOprah was considered to be a smart girl growing up. She was able to memorize and recite Bibleverses easily when she was a child. She even skipped two elementary levels before landing ascholarship to Nicolet High School in Milwaukee, where she was able to graduate with honors.She was constantly winning contests and honors in school, and was able to earn her collegescholarship to Tennessee State University where she earned her Bachelors Degree inCommunication.CareerOprah started her career as a broadcaster in her senior year in high school, when she workedpart time as a newscaster at WVOL, Nashvilles local black radio station. She then became theyoungest and only black female newscaster at WLAC-TV, also in Nashville. She had other severalradio stints before landing a career in television.In 1984, Oprah hosted AM Chicago, a half-hour talk show which soon gained popularity andeven took over Donahue as the highest rated show in Chicago. This success caused the show tobe renamed as the Oprah Winfrey Show, a full-hour show that was broadcast nationally. Sincethen, Oprah continued to rise not only as a broadcaster and host, but also as a person andcelebrity.
SuccessThe success of her TV show has caused Oprah to venture into new projects, such as establishingher own radio channel "Oprah and Friends", a womens cable network named Oxygen, aproduction company named Harpo Productions and two publications O (The Oprah Magazine)and O at Home, among many others.Oprah is also reported to be the wealthiest African American of her time, earning millions ofdollars every year and an accumulated worth of more than $2.7 billion. She is also consideredas the most influential woman in the world, with her networks of supporters and followers.InfluenceOprah has established authority and credibility, not only as a broadcaster but also as a person.Her honesty and rapport with her viewers and guests have captured the hearts of people, andhave continued to esteem her as an inspiration and an icon.Her TV show continues to stay at the top in terms of viewership and ratings. Also, hermagazines O at Home and O, The Oprah Magazine are reported to be the most successfulstartup in the industry.Through her show, products and personalities have gained attention and have even becomevery popular. For example, every time a book would be featured in Oprahs Book Club, it wouldinstantly experience increased sales.Also, products reviewed in her show sell better after being featured and praised by Oprahherself. Personalities who have become more popular because of her show include Dr. MehmetOz, Nate Berkus, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Robin Smith and Dr. Phil McGraw, who now has hisown TV show, named Dr. Phil produced by Oprahs Harpo Productions.She has also co-authored five books and is set to co-authora weight-loss book with her personal trainer Bob Greene.This project is reported to have the highest advance fee,proving yet again that Oprah Winfrey is indeed the mostinfluential and most important personality of her time.Oprah is also known to be a generous philanthropist,donating large amounts to charity and even establishingOprah Winfreys Leadership Academy for Girls, an all-girlsschool in South Africa that provides education and supportto more than 100 girls in the area.