Rise and Shine
The croissants made by French pastry chef Jean-Yves Charon are shipped frozen so they can be enjoyed fresh-baked from your oven. Oprah loves them so much she picked them as one of her Favorite Things 2005! Pair them with a cup of Peet's coffee and the day is off to a perfect start. "Peet's is for serious coffee drinkers," Oprah says. "You're not playing if you go to Peet's!"
Oprah decides to pitch in by answering a call at random from The Oprah Show ticket line. It's one caller's lucky day! Not only does she get tickets—she tells Oprah it's her first time trying!
With insider help, the devoted fans are all invited to a conference room for what they think is a special training session. Little do they know Oprah is waiting to surprise them with some good news! They're invited to her breakfast party too!
An excited Tiffany reads from the prompter, "She's a three-time Grammy award-winning, multiplatinum artist. ... Please welcome the queen of hip-hop—and my hero—Mary J. Blige!"
Mary turned to drugs and alcohol early in life and struggled with addiction for years. The music industry's partying lifestyle accelerated her downward spiral. "No one was telling me the truth," Mary says. "I had someone say to me, 'Girl, it's okay to drink and be promiscuous.' ... It was a lot of me just not loving or respecting myself and not thinking I deserved anything better."
Mary says her turning point came in 2001. After the loss of a close friend, her grief was compounded by the death of fellow hip-hop star Aaliyah on August 25 and the 9/11 tragedy.
Mary's forgiving spirit has earned her a place alongside Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Oprah's book of quotations. In an interview for Essence magazine, Mary's words of wisdom resonated with Oprah. Referring to the abuse she endured as a child, Mary said, "I blame [my mother] for nothing, but I forgive her everything."
Mary is the first to admit that forgiveness is a difficult obstacle to overcome. "It's all easier said than done," she says, "But it's got to be done. That's the painful part, the forgiveness. ... People don't want to go through it, [but] I'd rather go through the pain of getting better and being free than the pain of being stuck."
Mary discovered that the wedding was another step in her journey of self-discovery, not the final destination. At first, she says, she was disappointed that the marriage alone didn't heal her insecurities. "I was looking to my husband to make me feel good about myself," she says. "'He's not the one to make you feel happy,'" Mary says she soon realized. "You've got to feel good about yourself in order for this to work."
Mary finds she now attracts a different type of friend. "I can relate to them," Mary says. "I really don't care about the friends I lost, you know?"
The new energy in Mary's life comes across in her music. "It's called freedom," she says. "Letting people's opinions be their opinions and not letting their opinions be my life—not letting what they say in the tabloids about me make me or break me. I know what I am in my heart. I know what I believe about me. That's the freedom I have in performing and looking in people's eyes and being able to smile from my heart."
"Are you proud of yourself now?" Oprah asks. "I'm so proud of myself," Mary says.
Get Sprinkles Cupcakes' recipe for Dark Chocolate Frosting!