O, The Oprah Magazine | From the October 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Senior Associate Producer—started at Harpo in 1992.
In 1994 we aired "The Woman Who Smelled Bad at Work" —a show based on a Wall Street Journal piece. We brought in a smell expert to help us see if people would react to someone who smelled bad. Our plan was to have a volunteer sit in the audience holding area, carrying a foul-smelling napkin (planted by our expert) in her pocket as our hidden cameras recorded bystanders.
While our expert was in a back hallway saturating the cloth with his chemical stench, he happened to be standing underneath a central air intake unit. We soon found out that bad smells make people snippy. Moments after some of our staff caught a whiff—they hadn't known of our experiment that day—they were walking around snapping at each other. As the putrid odor wafted into the offices, staff members began gasping, hyperventilating and running out of the building. Luckily, the horrible smell didn't go into the studio, and the audience wasn't subjected to it.