Growing up in a poverty stricken family, Oprah Winfrey would wear potato sacks as her family couldn’t always afford clothing. Shuffled between family members, Oprah spent her first few years living on her grandmother’s farm in rural Mississippi, so her unwed teenage mom looked for work. However, her grandmother fill ill when Oprah was 6-years old and she was sent back to live with her mother in a Milwaukee boarding house, where she would not only grow up around extreme poverty, but also endure years of sexual and physical abuse.
At the age of 14, Winfrey managed to break free and went to live with her dad in Nashville, Tennessee. This is where her journey of success began to take shape. Living with her Dad provided Oprah with a sense of direction, discipline, and structure that she had never experienced before and she was able to experience an education centred environment. Here she thrived, becoming an honour roll student and was voted the most popular girl in her class.
During her time at East Nashville High School, Oprah discovered her passion for media, joining the speech team and securing work with a local black radio after school. After graduation she received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she left at age 19 to fully focus on her media career. Luckily the gamble paid off…
Oprah became the first female black news anchor, under the age of 20 in Nashville, before starting a co-anchor position in Baltimore. According to the Daily Worth, she was sexually harassed and humiliated at her job in Baltimore, and was fired seven and a half months after joining.
Soon after, Winfrey landed the job of hosting “AM Chicago” who’s ratings had began to stagnate. In the matter of just a few months, she turned “AM Chicago” from the lowest-rated talk show in Chicago to the highest-rated one. Three years later the show was renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
In 1986 she founded Harpo Productions and showed her business prowess in purchasing ownership of the “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which went on to make $300 million a year at its peak. Her company later produced shows, including “Dr. Phil” and “Rachael Ray” which were also massive successes.
Winfrey has also been involved in films, television series, and plays, being nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her brilliant performance in the 1985 film “The Color Purple.”
Oprah has also published her own magazine – The Oprah Magazine, started a radio channel – Oprah Radio, and launched her own cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Oprah is well known for her philanthropy, giving millions of dollars to charity, mostly to these 3 foundations; The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation.