Written By Hridya Gupta (Grade 8)
Oprah Winfrey, for me, is a name synonymous with inspiration. Oprah’s early life was filled with difficulties like being born into poverty, facing situations that could have destroyed her ambitions yet the resilience she held to overcome them has made her inspire me.
Oprah has created an incredible empire. In the late 1980s she started her own production company, Harpo, which allowed her to become a billionaire. She became the richest African American of the 20th century. Her well known talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, became the highest rated television program and ran for twenty five years on National TV. She was born on January 29, 1954, in rural Mississippi to a single teenage mother. She also has stated in many interviews that she was molested and sexually abused during her childhood and teenage years. She later became pregnant at just the age of 14 and suffered the loss of his son who was born prematurely and died in infancy. That year she ran away from her home and went to live with her dad in Nashville, Tennessee. According to her, her dad provided direction, discipline, and a sense of structure that she had never known. However, her story is not defined by the hardships but by her resilience in overcoming them. In 1970, Oprah won a speaking competition at the local Elvish club and the prize was a four year college scholarship to Tennessee State University. The following year, she was selected to represent Tennessee at the 1971 White House Conference. When she returned, Nashville’s WVOL radio station arranged an interview with her. This led to another opportunity, WVOL asked her to represent them in the Miss fire Prevention beauty pageant, which she won. At 17, she was offered a job by them. Oprah spent the next couple years balancing her college, social life and her job until the Columbia Broadcasting System offered her to work in television. She left school and signed with CBS as a reporter and anchor. In 1976, she moved to Baltimore to join WJZ-TV News as a co-anchor. There, she co-hosted her first talk show, People Are Talking. In January 1984, she was invited to Chicago to host a half-hour morning program on WLS-TV. In less than a year, she turned AM Chicago into the highest rated show in town. The show was soon expanded to an hour, and in September 1985 it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah used her violent and challenging childhood as an inspiration to work on her career and her dream of being a talk show host. She worked hard and fought for what she believed in. Her courage and strength encourages me to pursue my dreams and goals.
Featured Image Courtesy – American Academy of Arts and Sciences