When Oprah Winfrey first landed a nationally syndicated television show in 1986, she was just 32 years old – a young woman who had survived sexual abuse, extreme poverty and racism.
By 2012, she had built a television and publishing empire worth $2.7-billion.
The TV star brought authors instant fame, gave new cars to an entire audience, and had Tom Cruise giddily jumping on her sofa. She also drew attention to issues from gay rights to poverty in Africa.
But mostly, she inspired an entire generation to “find their spirit” and seek “aha moments” with her messages of empowerment.
“I remember being four, standing on the back porch watching my grandmother hang clothes on the line,” Ms. Winfrey, whose mother and grandmother were maids, told a packed crowd at Calgary’s Saddledome on Tuesday.
“She said: ‘Oprah Gail, you better watch me now, girl. Because one day you gonna have to learn how to learn how to do this for yourself.’ And the spirit inside me – I didn’t know it was the spirit – just this little voice said, ‘Mm-mm… I don’t think so.’ ”
Now, just days after airing a highly publicized interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong that drew more than 28 million viewers, Ms. Winfrey is doing an in-person sweep of Western Canada, sharing stories and insights from her own life, and inspiring attendees to reach their full potential.
“I have such a glorious life,” she said on Tuesday. “And if anything that I can say or share will help add to the glory in your life then I want to share it.”
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