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How she made it: The grass to grace story of Oprah Winfrey

Achieving Woman
 Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey’s story is indeed a true rags to riches, grass to grace tale.  

Winfrey was born in 1954 into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. (Wikipedia).       

But how did Oprah overcome, abuse, relationship problems, and race and gender issues to become the most famous TV host of all time, a mentor to many and above all the richest African-American and North America's first multi-billionaire black person and also ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history?

Here is a breakdown of how Oprah became a billionaire:

Oprah started off as a television reporter in Nashville in the 1970s when she was still in college. She was 19 years old then. Two years after that, she transferred to WJZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland, where she failed as a news co-anchor and reporter because she became too emotional. But that was not the end because a particular manager saw the potential in her and transferred her to a new show dubbed ‘People are talking’. This opportunity saw her win many people’s heart and here her start began to shine. In 1983, Oprah accepted a new job offer in Chicago,Illions the third-largest television market in the country. WLS-TV, the city's ABC affiliate. Here she was to host a 30-minute-show ‘AM Chicago’. Within a short while, the show rocketed to the top talk show in Chicago. It is at this point that it was renamed to ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ and was expanded to one hour from 30 minutes. The Oprah Winfrey Show became the highest-rated American talk show ever, running for 25 years – from 1986 to 2011. According to Business Insider, The Oprah Winfrey show became nationally syndicated and that is how Winfrey became a millionaire at just 32 years old. She also became the first African American television host to be syndicated. Her natural empathy, robust humor and curiosity encouraged guests on her show to talk. Her ratings rose as a result. Oprah continued to blaze her own path by starting her own production company, Harpo Productions, making her the first African-American to own a large studio. In 2000, she published her wildly successful magazine, "O, The Oprah Magazine." She also co-authored several best-sellers that pivoted around subjects such as health and cooking. By 1995, Oprah’s net worth was at $340 million, making her the richest woman in entertainment. Oprah has been a longtime political advocate, campaigning for Barack Obama, who later awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. In January of 2018, Winfrey was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 75th annual Golden Globes becoming the first Black woman to win the award.

Oprah has achieved so much in her age and in a nutshell we can attribute her achievements to her hard work, resilience and determination.

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