Meet the Oprah: Where Are They Now? Team
Favorite job: Supervising producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Every day was different...every story was different. Meeting stars, newsmakers, real people, heroes—doesn't get any better than that.
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Three-way tie!
1. Fab from Milli Vanilli: Hearing him tell his story of how he got in the band and then faked singing completely changed my opinion of this story! Watch his update on Sunday, August 4, 2013.
2. Danny Bonaduce: He's just a fascinating study in all things fame and child stars.
3. Heidi Fleiss: Raising exotic birds in Vegas? Who saw that coming?
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Kristy McNichol and Steve Perry (former lead singer from Journey)
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: Shaun Cassidy, Hall and Oates, Bobby Brady
Where was I when the Oprah Show launched in 1986? Graduating high school.
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: Too many to list...
Favorite Oprah Show produced: All of the ones I did right after news stories happened. Not happy moments, but they made me feel like I was doing something that matters in a moment of crisis or heartbreak. (9/11, Columbine, Andrea Yates' husband)
Fun fact: I love ping pong.
Where were you 10 years ago? Working at Harpo—having my second kid!
Most surprising thing about you: I am freaked out by Styrofoam, rodents, and when anything scratches (like milk) when moved around the refrigerator.
Most memorable celebrity encounter: Meeting Tom Cruise right after he started dating Katie Holmes. He brought her to the show...nicest people in the world. Then, he jumped on Oprah's couch! Couldn't believe our eyes...
Twitter handle: @jvanlokeren
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Danny Bonaduce
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Tom Hanks and Queen Elizabeth HRH
Time at Harpo: 16 years!
Favorite Oprah Show produced: Reuniting the cast of The Sound of Music and at home with Ralph Lauren on his Colorado ranch
Most memorable Oprah Show experience: Flying in a Black Hawk helicopter, taking the show to Australia, going to the Oscars®, taping in the Oval Office, producing a show with Stevie Nicks (my idol growing up), dancing with my team and Salt-N-Pepa in the legendary "blue hallway" at Harpo
Why I love Oprah: Where Are They Now?: The heart, soul and honesty our guests bring to the table. Watch Danny Bonaduce, Fab Morvan or Heidi Fleiss and tell me those aren't riveting interviews. Our guests bring it every time.
Twitter handle: @jsimpsonl
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Denise Richards...I loved going to her home, meeting her adorable kids (and foster dogs) and getting some mommy tips from one of Hollywood’s best!
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Monica Lewinsky
Where was I when the Oprah show launched in 1986? I was 7 years old, going to school and working my first job in my parents’ French bakery. Forget about a toy cash register—I was working the real thing!
Favorite Oprah Show produced: Our 2011 show with First Lady Michelle Obama. Not only did I adore her, I was so moved by the courageous military families we featured. What an honor to tell their stories.
Tales from the television set: The craziest thing I ever had to do as a producer was take Rob Pattinson (of Twilight fame) door-to-door in the Chicago suburbs to surprise his teenage fans (and their equally crazed moms). He was such a good sport!
Most surprising thing about you: I lived in France until I was 6 and have dual citizenship. And before I moved to Chicago to work on The Oprah Winfrey Show, I worked in news for 7 years. I lived in New York City and worked for Bryant Gumbel when he reported live on CBS’ Early Show that two hijacked planes were flown into the World Trade Center. At heart, I will always be a news girl.
Twitter handle: @mirlicourtois
Favorite job: Well I have to say, even though I’ve only been working here on Oprah: Where Are They Now? for a little over a month, I’m loving it. That said, I did work at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, many summers in my teens as a Disney character and dressing up as Eeyore is a close second.
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: I have favorites for every episode I get to work on. I really like the piece on the Herrin twins, formerly conjoined. The pop culture junkie in me is excited about working on the Molly Ringwald episode. Ask me again next season, as I imagine this answer will be forever changing...
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Steven Spielberg, I know I'm dreaming big here but dreaming big is just one of the many things I’ve learned from Spielberg and his films.
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? The show launched just two days after my 10th birthday. My family had just moved from a small farming town in southern Illinois to a growing suburb in central Florida.
Fun fact: I have seen every episode of Law & Order, all 20 seasons! I’m talking the original series, not the spin-offs. I can recite the opening line upon request.
Celebrity crush: It has changed over the decades but goes something like this...in the 1980s it was Michael J. Fox, or more specifically, Alex P. Keaton. (I wore sweater vest for a couple years because of this man). In the late 1990s, it was Joshua Jackson. It may have been Dawson's creek, but it was Pacey who held the key to my heart. In the 2000s, I have been bouncing back and forth between Patrick Wilson and Dan Abrams. Please don't make me choose.
Twitter handle: @cbwitt76
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: DANNY BONADUCE. He is the funniest and most honest person I have ever interviewed. We also share a love of curse words.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Tom Hanks. He is my mountain peak, and I can do no better. (I also promised myself I can retire once I meet him.)
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: The Rat Pack...though I would expect them to serenade me.
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? I was watching Muppet Babies.
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: When Stevie Wonder surprised Jake Simpson. Perfection.
Tales from the television set: I once admitted to a famous British actor that I didn’t know how to make a decent cup of tea. His reply was to promptly lead me to the nearest kettle for a tea tutorial. (Did I mention this all happened about 10 minutes before our show went live?) The stress of the day is long gone, but I still make a damn good cuppa tea!
Fun fact: I have impromptu dance parties (by myself) as I get ready for work.
Twitter handle: @Lizsugiwilliams
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: I got to work with the Columbine survivors we featured in Season 2, and I thought they were each incredibly insightful and inspiring.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Tough one! Right now, I'll say Fred Savage and a Wonder Years reunion.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: ‘N Sync reunited.
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? Probably somewhere playing with my puffalumps (one of my favorite old toys!).
Favorite Oprah Show produced: Two of the most special shows for me were the 24th season premiere episodes with Whitney Houston. I was able to watch her rehearse the night before, and it was an experience I will never forget.
Fun fact: I can speak in a Chipmunk voice.
Celebrity crush: The Chicago Blackhawks! Also, I have a big crush on Jason Segel and Calvin Harris.
Twitter handle: @SSorensen_1
Favorite job: This one! Working at Harpo has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Milli Vanilli's Fab Morvan...tune in Sunday, August 4. He is fascinating, mesmerizing, and he tells the REAL story behind the famous duo. He does NOT disappoint.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: Jennie Garth, Luke Perry, Jason Priestly, Shannon Doherty, Tiffani Thiessen, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering, Brian Green, and of course, me! You might be seeing a pattern. Yes, Beverly Hills 90210 is my all-time favorite show. After all, in high school, I was voted most likely to be on Beverly Hills 90210, not because I was an actor or anything, but because I was OBSESSED with the show. And still, more than a decade later, these are the people I would want to break bread with.
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? I was probably sitting in front of the tube watching Growing Pains, Who's The Boss or the Cosby kids. I have loved and appreciated TV for as long as I can remember.
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: The one where Tom Cruise famously jumped on Oprah's yellow couch proclaiming his love for his former leading lady Katie Holmes. I like water cooler chatter.
Fun fact: I am the queen of pop culture trivia. Go ahead, quiz me! And I love cross word puzzles.
Twitter handle: @silvermartin
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: It's a three-way tie between makeunder mom Dawn from Season 1, and Bow Wow and Justin Guarini from Season 2.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Kelly Osbourne and Joan Rivers
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: Eclectic like my style...Sarah Jessica Parker, Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians (all of them!), Robin Thicke, Channing Tatum, Jamie Fox, Tina Turner, Kelly Osbourne, Joan Rivers, Diana Ross, Vince Vaughn, Mike Epps, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Hart, Kerry Washington and Jesse Williams. A girl can dream, right?!
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? In my parents’ future plans and thoughts. (I wasn't even born yet!)
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: Oprah and Tina Turner dancing together on stage!
Tales from the television set: Diana Ross once told me she loved my sparkly/sequin jacket backstage...and then I ran into her months later at Barney’s in NYC and she remembered my jacket and me!
Fun fact: Everyone assumes I’m a boy because of my name.
Twitter handle: @Brettie4life
Favorite job: I was a diving coach and lifeguard throughout college. You can't beat hanging out by the pool all day! I love Harpo, but we have a serious shortage of windows in the building.
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: I am a huge Survivor fan so I had a great time working with Richard Hatch. He's so funny and was such a good sport about doing all the crazy stuff I was asking him to do!
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: I'd love to hear from Pamela Anderson. Baywatch was like the best show ever.
Favorite Oprah Show: Hands down, the 24th season kick-off party. Watching 20,000 people do a flash mob to the Black Eyed Peas in the middle of Chicago's beautiful Michigan Avenue still sends chills down my spine.
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? I was in kindergarten, and my little brother, Tommy, had just been born.
Fun fact: I built a house in high school as part of a vocational home-building program. I also went to modeling school. Jack of all trades here.
Memorable celebrity encounter: Julia Roberts was at Harpo once, and one of her twins came running around the corner, smacked right into my leg and fell on the ground. I was horrified when I looked up and she was staring at me, but everyone just thought it was funny!
Twitter handle: @AndrewStimpson
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? show guest: Peggy Plunkett
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles (seriously—where is he now?!)
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: The cast of Boy Meets World
Favorite Oprah Show: Can anyone ever really get enough of watching the Ultimate Favorite Things episode? I sure can't!
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? Not sure—I wasn’t born yet!
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: When Oprah met her idol, Mary Tyler Moore. I cry every time!
Tales from the television set: I got more than I bargained for when I asked Fabio to take a picture with me after our shoot with him. He picked me up as if I was a model on the cover of his romance novels. Naturally, I swung my head back and did my best damsel-in-distress impersonation.
Fun fact: My thumbs are two different sizes.
Twitter handle: @jamieLschiller
Favorite job: Harpo—it’s my dream job! I’m new here, but I’ve been embraced as a member of the team.
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? show guest: Elisabeth Glaser’s family. I was so inspired by how resilient she was, so it was great to get an update from her family.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Jasmine Guy/Kadeem Hardison (Whitley and Dwayne from A Different World)—one of my all-time favorite TV couples!
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? dinner party: The cast members of my all-time favorite TV shows from the ‘90s—way too many to list! But just to give you a few: Sex and The City, The Cosby Show, Gossip Girl, Martin, Saved By The Bell, Boy Meets World, A Different World, etc.
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? Running around in diapers (I was 2 years old).
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: The Mary Tyler Moore moment, her interview with Nelson Mandela and when Oprah and Gayle lived like women in colonial times (I couldn’t stop laughing).
Fun fact: I’m a weird eater. I love to snack on unusual things like raw ramen noodles and cooking flour. I put hot sauce on just about everything. I also put my ice cream in the microwave.
What is your hidden talent or secret passion? I would love to write a book based on a fictional political family.
Twitter handle: @iamtyrenee
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Sinbad. He is a great guy and is so funny. Everyone should check out his comedy set.
Dream Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Adam Sandler (He's my celeb crush!)
Where was I when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched in 1986? I was just turning 1.
Tales from the television set: The first time I ever met Channing Tatum, I gave him a hug and closed my eyes. The crew said they think I held on a little too long.
Fun fact: I can tweet like a bird, and I can juggle while doing it!
Most surprising thing about you: I've skydived in New Zealand and Switzerland. My ultimate goal is to skydive in all seven continents. Only 5 more to go...
Most memorable celebrity encounter: After talking to Ryan Reynolds on a shoot, I told him how much I loved The Proposal, and he touched my cheek and said, "You look like you have an honest face. I trust you."
Twitter handle: @elliebellyj
Favorite Oprah: Where Are They Now? guest: Denise Richards...she brought it!
Favorite Oprah Show: The last show...because it provided a glimpse into the future.
Where was I when The Oprah Show launched in 1986? In my third grade class at Seven Holy Founders.
Favorite Oprah Show moment of all time: The Morehouse tribute to Ms. Winfrey during the finale show...gives me goosebumps every time I think about it! The energy in the room was like nothing I’ve ever felt...gratitude and grace was everywhere.
Tales from the television set: I was eight months pregnant when will.i.am appeared on The Oprah Show in 2010. When we met he said, "Wow! Look at you! Is there a pregnancy boom here at Harpo?” (yes, there was), and then he touched my stomach. I think something happened...because my daughter, now 3 years old, is an avid Black Eyed Peas fan.
Fun fact; I own an otoscope and hospital grade ear picks because I love to clean ears!
Where were you 10 years ago? Tearing up the stage with my band and song and dance revue.
Twitter handle: @NikkiDKelly