Oprah Talks to Ralph Lauren
Oprah: Did you finish college?
Ralph: I didn't.
Oprah: Is that something you wished you'd done?
Ralph: I don't think I'd have gotten much more out of school than I got. I earned an A in psychology in college, and I got a D in economics.
Oprah: Now you're Ralph Lauren.
Ralph: I always had a sense of people and would talk with them. I talk to my doorman. I talk to everybody I work with. I enjoy it. I like being part of a real life. I love dreams. I love glamour. I love being invited to great places. But I don't really care if I go, as long as I'm invited. I get invited to so many things, but I'd rather go have a hamburger or see a movie.
> And I'm excited when I find somebody stimulating to talk with. That's one of the great treasures in life.
Oprah: When you were a boy, you wanted to be a basketball player. Does this beat basketball?
Ralph: Yes. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lot of things. I grew up in the Bronx, in a house attached to a school yard. My whole life was about playing basketball and stickball—we'd take the handle off our broom and use it as a bat.
Oprah: To play poor people's hockey?
Ralph: It was poor people's baseball. I didn't have a bike or a baseball mitt. Did I want them? Yes. But I knew my parents wanted to give them to me and couldn't. So I became motivated to get things on my own. I used to work for my father—I'd carry his bag or help him paint just to earn money. It made things more precious to me. So I appreciate the excitement and the value of buying something and enjoying it. I value things.
Oprah: Final question: What's next for you?
Ralph: I love a challenge. This year I went to Milan, the center of Armani and Prada and Gucci, and I did a men's show. I hadn't done a men's show in 25 years. It was so exciting—and I didn't know it was going to be a major hit. That was such a high for me. Did it earn me any more money? No. But it was about the excitement. I built this $10 billion business with a tie. But the question I'm still asking myself is: "What else can I do? How much further can I go? Could I build a media business? Do I have anything to say? Whenever I've done anything, I've had something to say about what I believe in. And that's exactly what I do with my clothes. I get great pleasure in making my own statement. And my greatest joy in life is this: Everything I do is all mine.