Oprah Winfrey: The Voice That Went From Rags To Riches

When I hear the name Oprah Winfrey, the image of this strong, confident woman, ever ready to voice out her opinions and beliefs comes to my mind.

In a world where women are fighting for their rights to be treated equally to men, she is a true inspiration. Her voice and her energy have captivated audiences worldwide.

Often, the most famous of personalities have had obstacles they jumped over and failures they ran past. Oprah Winfrey is no different. She fought through her dark childhood and made her presence felt in the minds and hearts of people.

Her struggle from tears and utter humiliation to smiles and success has left the world in awe. The story of this struggle is something that can inspire all of us. It is a story that will teach us the power that sheer talent and determination hold.

So here is the tale of a child from poor, bare beginnings growing into one of the boldest and confident women that the world has ever seen. Here is the story of the star of star talk show hosts, Oprah Winfrey.

Dark Beginnings

Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi in 1954. Soon after her birth, her mother left her with her grandmother and travelled north in hopes of a better quality of life. This led to her baby daughter growing up in rural poverty.

A childhood image of Oprah Winfrey

The billionaire talk-show host today had apparently worn potato sacks to her school since she couldn’t afford proper clothes. She had faced taunts and had become the object of ridicule for her classmates.

When Oprah turned 6, she moved to Wisconsin with her mother. Her mother had never been anything close to supporting. Whenever difficulties arose in managing Oprah and her siblings, the kids would immediately be sent to their father. It was just a constant shuffling between going to her mother’s, father’s and grandmother’s houses.

A childhood picture of Oprah Winfrey

Later on in life, Oprah also reported having been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. The incidents had left a profound impact on her mind. She even ran away at the age of 13 to escape the abuse. The sexual abuse also led to pregnancy and childbirth but her son died as an infant.

The terrifying incidents and the lack of support from her family had left a stain on her childhood.

Things start looking up

Being a victim of sexual abuse at the tender age of 9 is one thing and growing up as an African-American is another. She was quoted saying that riding the bus to her high school with fellow African-Americans was a constant reminder of her poverty. She would even steal money from her mother to be amongst the popular and free-spending squad.

Again unable to handle this inconvenience, Oprah’s mother sent her off to her father. This time, however, she would not return.

Oprah Winfrey’s father was a firm and strict man but he gave his daughter’s education No.1 priority. He encouraged to focus on her academics. She became an honours student, won various oratory competitions and stunned everyone with her poise and confidence on stage.

Achievements in Oprah Winfrey's early life

Her hard work won her a full scholarship at Tennessee State University where she decided to pursue one of her greatest strengths, communication. She began trying to gain experience in radio and television broadcasting.

Once a strong foundation was set by her education, Oprah Winfrey began her journey into the entertainment industry.

Baby steps into the world of entertainment

No matter how hard your past might have been, life always demands you to work hard. You would think that opportunities would have come rushing to Oprah Winfrey’s doorstep but that wasn’t the case.

Oprah Winfrey as a co-anchor

She worked in Nashville’s local news channels and her poise and ability to articulate the language made her one of the first black women anchors there. She was later on removed from that post to do menial and low-profile jobs.

Later on, she acted as a host as well as a co-host for various programs like “The people are talking”. As you can see, there were a lot of highs and lows in her initial career period.   

Oprah Winfrey hit gold when she decided to do a channel’s morning talk show, AM Chicago. Deciding to do the talk show was a huge decision since her competitor in this part of the entertainment field was a seasoned and experienced individual.

Oprah Winfrey in AM Chicago

Nevertheless, Oprah persevered. Soon, she started catching the public’s eye. Her soulful and cheery persona captivated audiences and soon, AM Chicago started topping on the rating list. Critics were all praise for Oprah Winfrey. From this point, her career path started to take her to new heights.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

The Oprah WInfrey Show

The Oprah Winfrey show started off as a simple television talk show. Oprah’s personality and energy are what drew in the audience.

What made the show super special was that Oprah refrained from taking up tabloid topics that were covered in other talk shows.

She concentrated on broader topics like geopolitics, charity, health, wellness and meditation. She interviewed celebrities who were open to questions regarding the same. This gained her the respect of her audience.

The show aired in 100 countries worldwide and was a humungous hit. It ran for a period of whopping 25 years before calling it quits in the year 2011. It gained Oprah Winfrey a lot of money, popularity and love. She had left an imprint in the hearts of all her viewers.

Life beyond the Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah Winfrey's production company

Having become a public figure owing to the success of her show, Oprah Winfrey made significant gains. She hosted, produces and starred in various drama series as well as talk shows. Harpo Productions also marked her foray into becoming the president of a production company.

She co-authored various books and also announced the writing of her own memoir.

Oprah Winfrey’s company also created the website Oprah.com. This website not only provides amazing and interactive content but also houses one of Oprah’s famous initiatives, “Oprah’s Child Predator’s Watch List”.

This was introduced with the motive of helping to track down child abusers and was also pretty successful in achieving its aim.

From being a victim of child abuse to becoming a public figure who acted against the crime, Oprah Winfrey’s life has truly left me in awe.

What Oprah Winfrey taught me

Having been a person who always hesitates to voice out her opinion, Oprah Winfrey showed me what marvels could happen if I did do so. She lives as an example of how high your dreams and achievements can be.

No matter how daunting and dark your past was, all that matters in life is your present. It is what you do in the present that controls your future. The steps that you take today will determine the fears that you forsake and the money that you make in the future.

Look back only to learn from your own as well as others’ mistakes. Keep moving forward. Work hard and work smart.

It all comes down to what you do now. So make every second of now count. Make it special. Sculpt it into a step towards your dreams.

Make your now happy and eventful and I promise you, your future will make all the efforts worth it.

Want to know the story behind India’s Wonder Woman? Check out our article on Seema Rao.

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