Oprah Gail Winfrey was born in Mississippi (January 29, 1954). Her mother was an unmarried teenager and while Oprah’s life began in poverty, nowadays she is one of the richest people in the world and is a self-made billionaire who was once the only African American billionaire in the world.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
Oprah is also considered to be one of the most inspirational people in the world, and she has never let her sad past hurt her chances in her life. From the sad experiences of being raped at age 9, being pregnant at 14 only to lose the child in infancy; Oprah went on to get a job in radio at only age 19 while still going to high school, and shortly afterward was co-anchoring the evening news, which is a great accomplishment for a teen.
That was only the beginning of this amazing woman. She is best known for the Oprah Winfrey television talk show, movie actress, and has also been a producer, has her own TV network (OWN), and is a philanthropist who has given money to help girl’s schools in Africa, as well as a lot of other charities. She has also used her money to fight poverty and fight child abuse all over the world. Her talk show was on TV for 27 years and received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards, which are great accomplishments.
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
Through all that, she has inspired many women to become entrepreneurs as well as some to become journalists. She is known for treating people as equals and that’s one of the reasons she is so beloved today by people all over the world. Even CNN and TIME magazine have called her one of the world’s most powerful women.
Here are just a few of the thing Oprah has done that is truly inspiring:
Her Show Helped Make Others More Helpful
Oprah’s talk show has even been used to influence and inspire a group of people who took part in a scientific experiment done by students in the Psychology departments of the University of Cambridge, the University of Plymouth, as well as the University of California. During this experiment, subjects were asked to watch a segment of Oprah’s talk show, as well as a British comedy show and a nature documentary. The ones who watched Oprah’s show were seen to be twice as helpful than others, which showed that even one exposure to Oprah’s way of doing things causes people to be more prosocial, and motivated altruism and elevation of their spirits.
She Is A True Philanthropist
Oprah is an extremely generous woman. She started the Angel Network in 1998, which is a charity that encourages others worldwide to help underprivileged people. It gives grants to nonprofit groups and has raised more than 50 million dollars. And to show just how inspiring she is, Oprah herself funds all the administrative costs of the charity, which guarantees all the donated monies go into the charity itself.
She also works through other charities and gives millions of dollars of her own money to various causes, and has been listed at one of America’s top 50 most generous philanthropists, as well as the most generous amongst celebrities. She has encouraged others to do the same, for example during Hurricane Katrina in 2006 people gave more than eleven million dollars to her Angel Network after Oprah encouraged them to open their hearts, and Oprah matched the funds with her own money too. Plus, she is a recipient of the Bob Hope Humanitarian award in 2002, and has paid for 250 African American men to go to college at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; as well as in 2006 she took her entire staff and their families, more than 1000 people, on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Hawaii to celebrate 20 years on national TV in 2006.
Animal Rights Activist
And it’s not just people Oprah believes in helping. She also loves animals and was made 2008 Person of the Year by PETA for using her talk show to fight puppy mills, cruelty to animals at factory farms, and she refuses to wear fur or let fur be worn in photos in her O magazine.
Oprah Transformed Daytime Talk Shows
She has transformed daytime talk shows and broken down journalism barriers as she helped her audiences celebrate people’s differences no matter their color, disability, and more.
Oprah Teaches People Many Things
Oprah’s shows have so many great topics that have not only opened people’s minds to other types of people but have also educated them on vital topics like healthcare, technology, foods, fashions, different world locations, relationship issues, and so much more. You name it, she has likely had some sort of show on it.
Oprah Has Influenced Political Causes
Oprah also many times used the fact that she is such a popular celebrity to influence the political and legal scene. For instance, a 1991 incident where a four-year-old child had been molested and killed, and she advocated for federal child protection laws that would maintain a national record of convicted child abusers, as well as stricter sentencing for abusers. She got help from the then Illinois Governor James Thompson and got then President Bill Clinton to sign into law a bill that lets childcare providers do background checks on potential employees.
“Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey
All this and much more is why we should study this fabulous woman for all that she has done to make the world a happier, more informed and better place now and for the future!