Oprah finds herself in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. Inside the issue, the multimedia mogul discusses the growth of OWN, her network, from its inception when people believed it wasn’t doing well to the success it has recently seen.
Oprah states that it was her time to end something she had given so much attention to for a greater portion of her life. She had reached her peak with The Oprah Show and it was time to surmont another.
“When you have reached the peak of a mountaintop, which is where I was with the Oprah show, you have absolutely no worries,” she explains of the ambitious undertaking. “I’d been in the right space at the right time, and I’d done that in the best way possible for 25 years. But you have two choices: You can come down from the mountain and spend the rest of your days thinking it was so beautiful there, or you can create a vision, look upward, see the next mountain, and start the climb all over again.”
To continue the metaphor, though, even the best mountain climbers need to rest, to regain their breath. The launch of OWN has been extraordinarily challenging—Winfrey and her team struggled with low-rated programming, canceled Rosie O’Donnell’s much hyped talk show, and made the early mistake of assuming that Oprah viewers would automatically jump to OWN when a sizable number of them didn’t have cable. “Now I wish that I’d come down just a little bit,” Winfrey says of the Everest to her pre-conquered Kilimanjaro. “I ask myself, ‘Why couldn’t you just take three months off?’”
But she didn’t. Why? “Because I was already in it,” she answers bluntly. “What was missing from OWN was me. It required my full-on energy. You know, this past year has been challenging, but it’s also been one of the greatest experiences for me getting to know me. What do you do when you don’t have the wind at your back?” She lets out her booming laugh. “All these nature metaphors!”
Oprah’s Next Chapter has afforded OWN 3.5 million weekly viewers making it the network’s highest-rated program in the few years that it’s been on the air. Oprah hopes to see similar success with her newest installment, Iyanla: Fix My Life.
Oprah mentions that her success has come from all the hours she devotes to her career. She once tried separating herself from her brand, but when she realized her brand and heart were in sync, she stopped fighting. Her manic schedule may be something she can’t avoid, but she doesn’t try to.
Her schedule is manic. Winfrey is an early bird, up by 5:45, 6 A.M. (“Stedman’s usually up at 5:30.”) Breakfast of late is “blackberries and half a banana, some almond milk and a little protein powder.” While still in bed she reads a passage from TheDailyLove.com, then from The Bowl of Saki: “It’s like the Sufi Daily Word.” Then it’s a workout, followed by either travel or doing “five or six” calls with her network heads, or both, and, she says, sighing, “trying to work out how social media will fit in there.” (Winfrey is also working on getting seven graduates of her girls’ school in South Africa settled in American colleges.) She doesn’t catch up with famed best friend Gayle King as regularly these days, given that King, a cohost of CBS This Morning, needs to be asleep nightly by 8:30. “I was on the phone with Gayle the other night,” Winfrey recalls. “She asked me a question, and then it was…snore!” She howls with laughter.
Oprah is currently starring in the new Lee Daniels‘ film The Butler, which she claims has changed her views on acting. “I didn’t know what the hell acting was! I just now figured it out. I am so stunned because all this time I’ve been doing it wrong!”
Read more at Harper’s Bazaar, particularly about her guilty pleasure with Fifty Shade of Grey. I really need to sit down and read that series. Oprah has definitely taught me that tenacity is pertinent in trying to make a career for yourself. I won’t forget that.