Oprah: Can you believe the life you've created for yourself? I ask this as someone who, at moments, has to step back and look at where I've come from. Does that happen to you?
Madonna: It happens when other people remind me of it. If someone shows me a retrospective of all the videos I've done, I go, "Wow, that's me? I did that?"
Oprah: I remember once seeing myself on a magazine cover and thinking, "Gee, that's me." I knew everyone who looked at that cover would have their own idea of who they think I am. When you take away the Madonna packaging and marketing, who are you at your core?
Madonna: I'm just a scruffy, tough girl from Michigan who really loves learning and is curious about life—hair back in a ponytail.
Oprah: Is it true that when you moved to New York in 1977, you had just $35 on you?
Madonna: Yep—35 bucks.
Oprah: Back then, could you have imagined the life you have now?
Madonna: No way, Jose! I just wanted to be a professional dancer. I was going to be happy if I made it onto Broadway.
Oprah: Since those days, do any of the labels you've been given—diva, rebel, sexual revolutionary—reflect how you see yourself?
Madonna: I hope I've been given the label of teacher. That's how I see myself now. Inspiring people and sharing what I've learned—that's the most important thing. It's what I was put here to do. All my fame and fortune have led to this one understanding: That I'm here to help people.
Oprah: Have you always been a teacher?
Madonna: If I taught people earlier in my career, it was by default. I wasn't consciously thinking of sharing in any way. I was just showing off. If people got something out of that, so be it.
Oprah: What did it feel like to constantly show off?
Madonna: I felt full of myself. There were great moments sometimes, and there were moments when I felt really alone.