The Ultimate O Interview: Oprah Answers All Your Questions
Oprah: I know I've had a good day when, after all the work I put into creating a show that goes out to ten million people around the world, somebody e-mails back and says, "What you said really mattered to me." That's a good day.
Kate: Your name's so unique. What's the origin?
Oprah: From the Bible. Ruth, first chapter. It's misspelled. It's supposed to be Orpah.
Kate: Was that on purpose?
Oprah: No. The p got put before the r on my birth certificate.
Gayle: Who's your favorite musician on your iPod right now?
Vanessa: If you could sing any karaoke song, would it be Lady Gaga?
Oprah: It would definitely be a Tina Turner song. Because if I see myself as anybody, I can't be Gaga but I can be Tina. I have the wig to prove it! I actually got to sing "Simply the Best" onstage with her. Now I would wear a short dress and do "Steamy Windows." To me, nobody stands up to Tina Turner, because she just turned 70 and she's still rocking it out.
Gayle: What advice would you give a young Oprah?
Oprah: I would say, "Hold on to yourself, 'cause it's all going to be all right." When I was 28 years old in Baltimore, I was doing an event, and the gospel singer Wintley Phipps was performing there. Wintley Phipps, who I did not then know at all, came up to me backstage and said, "God has impressed me to tell you that He holds you in His hand. And that He has shown great favor to you. And that you will speak to millions of people in the world in and through His name."
Gayle: And you were just a local news anchor then.
Oprah: I said, "Who are you? What? In Baltimore?" He said, "I don't know. God has just impressed me to tell you that." And it was one of those eerie, crazy moments, because I had always believed those things myself, even before that conversation. In the time just before I left Nashville for Baltimore, I was speaking in churches a lot. I remember speaking at a women's day service—I had my red Cutlass outside, packed and ready to drive to Baltimore. And my sermon was, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future." I have no fear about the future. I have no fear about anything, because I really do understand that I am God's child and that He has guided me through everything and will continue to until the end.
Vanessa: In your best-case scenario, how would you balance your time?
Oprah: Still trying to figure that one out. If I knew the answer, I'd have managed to open my Christmas presents by now. I'm not kidding. I left California and came in a day early this week because I wanted to get through my Christmas presents here in the office—it's February and I haven't opened them yet. But I ended up getting stuck with all the requests that were on the desk: Will you do this, will you do that, will you speak here, will you go there? The thing is, when you're on TV, you're in people's homes every day. You are familiar. So it's like, "Oprah, come on over here! Stay right here while I get my camera—and hold on, my sister wants to get a picture with you, too!" You wouldn't say that to Angelina Jolie.
Keisha: You've sacrificed a lot to live the life you have.
Oprah: Actually, I've had a great time. But I would have to say that at this particular time in my life, I look forward to being able to take a rest. I was just saying to someone the other day, "What do women do when they wake up in the morning?" One of my favorite lines from Beloved—the movie nobody went to see, and thank you if you did, since as you can tell [laughs], I still carry a little pain about it—is spoken by the character Sethe. She says, "Twenty-eight days, 28 good days of a free life... I'd wake up in the morning and decide for myself what to do with the day.... Twenty-eight days of freedom. And on the 29th day, it was over." I can't imagine what it's going to be like to wake up in the morning and decide for myself what to do with the day. I don't know what it is to have free time. I really don't know. If I get to leave here and be home early, I won't know what to do. What do people do?
Lisa: Watch Oprah.
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