The woman who brilliantly inhabits the Oval Office on Tuesday nights tells Oprah how an Oscar-winning Mensa member can still be a doormat, how she finally came into her own, and why she married a man 15 years younger.
The day I walk into the Oval Office—the one on the set of this season's hit Commander in Chief —I get a little chill. Before me sits Geena Davis, a woman who stands six feet tall and has enough presence to play America's first "Madam President." She's also a woman kind enough to lend me an outfit from her own closet. Only a half hour before our meeting and photo session, I discovered I'd left my garment bag on the plane.
The real Oval Office is four feet smaller than this one, but nearly everything else—the white marble mantel, the presidential seal in the ceiling, the timber desk—is a perfect replica. "Doesn't it feel good to be in your sweats now?" I say to Geena an hour later, as we settle in, a stage away from the set where our picture was taken. After seven hours of filming followed by our photo shoot, Geena scurried back to the dressing rooms with me so we could change into what I call after-school clothes—she even put on slippers.
I knew a few facts about Geena before we met: Born in Wareham, Massachusetts, almost 50 years ago; self-conscious in high school (how could you not be at six feet tall?); Mensa (high-IQ society) member; semifinalist for the women's Olympic archery team in 1999; Oscar winner, in 1988, for The Accidental Tourist ; and the actress who gave women the gift of Thelma (in 1991's Thelma & Louise ). I also knew she'd married her fourth husband, surgeon Reza Jarrahy, in 2001, and that they have a 3-year-old daughter and 19-month-old twin boys. But that Geena's a reformed please-a-holic? I wouldn't have guessed it. A woman on a mission to change children's television? Hallelujah. An actress with a part that opens up a space of possibility for the first female president of the United States? Even Geena Davis couldn't have predicted that one.
Start reading Oprah's interview with Geena Davis
Note: This interview appeared in the January 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
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