Oprah Winfrey

Marcus Yam

Oprah Winfrey is arguably one of the most well-known and influential women in history. She is an actress, author, philanthropist, former talk show host, producer; the list is extensive. Oprah came from a very humble background that gave her the drive to become one of the most notorious and powerful people in the world.

In 1954, Oprah was born to a single teenage mother in Mississippi and spent the first six years of her life living in poverty with her grandmother. After enduring a childhood of poverty and sexual abuse, Oprah began to find success in high school. She was an honors student, won the Miss Black Teen beauty pageant, was voted Most Popular Girl, and received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. During her senior year in high school, she started her career in the radio business and eventually became a news anchor for a local station.

In 1986, Oprah began hosting AM Chicago, and in a matter of months took the show from last in the ratings to the highest rated talk show in Chicago. The show was appropriately renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is still the highest-rated talk show in history.

The Oprah Winfrey Show is just one of Oprah’s endeavors that became a major success. In 2011, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) replaced the Discovery Health Channel and debuted to almost 80 million homes. She also founded Harpo Productions, which is a production company that has subsidiaries such as OWN, and Harpo Print, LLC, which publishes O, the Oprah Magazine. In addition, Oprah created Oprah.com which averages more than six million users per month, established a radio channel, co-authored five books, and starred in numerous films. With these just being some of her projects and accomplishments, it is easy to conclude that Oprah makes quite a bit of money. While this is true, Oprah is a renowned philanthropist and donates a lot of her money and time to various charities and nonprofit organizations.

Oprah created Oprah’s Angel Network, which accepted donations from 1998 to 2010, and raised more than 80 million dollars for different charities and nonprofits. She also founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South America in 2007, and by 2012 had raised and donated $400 million to different educational causes. These are just a few examples of Oprah’s philanthropy over the years, and she continues to donate her time and money to various organizations.

Oprah continues to lead an amazing and successful life and has paved the way for others to do the same.