Oprah: That was the first play you'd ever seen, and now you're starring in it. When the little girl from High Point who didn't like her lips or her body or herself sings, "I'm beautiful and I'm here"—how does it feel?

Fantasia: I feel like Celie. Every night when I sing those words, I always break down; I'm talking to myself. I finally feel pretty. I want my own daughter to live by those words. One night, after Zion had seen the show, she said, "Were you singing to me?" I said, "Yes—because you are beautiful."

Oprah: I want Celie's song to become the anthem of women everywhere. Do you have a vision for your life beyond The Color Purple?

Fantasia: I want to still be singing at 70 years old. I want to be open to the dreams I haven't even dreamed up, because I never thought I'd be on Broadway! Every night when I play Celie, I feel myself growing up. Now I do things I never would've done before: I listen to jazz, light candles, read books—and I didn't used to like reading! I am becoming a woman.

Oprah: What has it been like to go from living in the projects to having such a big life?

Fantasia: Crazy! When I was a child, I used to dream about being onstage in front of thousands of people, and it happened. It's not about the fame; it's about people being touched. One night a 70-year-old woman came up to me after the show and told me she'd also been a single mother who had dropped out of school, and now she's taking nursing classes. She said, "You inspired me." You can't tell me that dreams don't come true. My life is proof that they do.


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