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Oprah Winfrey: Celebrating a Life Lived with Purpose and Passion

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We have all heard the popular line from the hit movie Field of Dreams: "If you build it they will come." When I think of those words I think that it means when you do the work, the reward follows. Few people can attest to that fact like Oprah Winfrey who turned 60 on January 29th.

For 25 years the world benefited from the talent and tenacity of the Queen of Daytime Talk, Oprah Winfrey. She has managed to acquire adoring fans from every corner of the globe and in the process made us feel as though on some level she could identify with us. Isn’t that after all the source of her power? The ability to be all things to all people? I would say so, and whether you have followed her over the years or just recently joined the Oprah bandwagon, there is no doubt that she has changed the way most of us look at life.

For me Oprah represented the very essence of what is considered the American Dream. She came from extremely humble beginnings in my home state of Mississippi to achieve a level of wealth, prestige and power that few can truly comprehend. Over the past couple of decades we have witnessed her tackle her own personal demons while helping us battle our own. Year after year her loyal supporters united in with their time and their hearts, and she gave of herself freely and willingly with each and every show.

There has been talk over the years about the level of influence that Oprah holds, and some have wondered aloud exactly where would it end. She has denied any political ambitions for herself, but in the 2008 election it was undeniable that her support of then Senator Barack Obama over then Senator Hillary Clinton contributed to his amazing victory. Though some criticized her decision to openly back a candidate, in many ways I feel it would have been “unOprahlike” for her not to do so. As she said time and again her heart told her it was the right thing to do, and we know her to be an individual that goes with her heart.

Due to listening to her heart, Oprah announced that her 25th season of her talk show would be her last. In January 2011 a new chapter of her life began: that being the birth of the Oprah Winfrey Network or OWN. Here was a channel devoted entirely to content approved by Oprah herself and it featured a mix of docu-dramas, reality shows, movies and of course talk shows. Among the stars who came on board with the network were journalist Lisa Ling, the Judds, Shania Twain and Rosie O’Donnell. Since its launch it has gone through some changes, however, the premise of the network has remained the same: to help individuals realize their fullest potential.

As someone who was excited about the new endeavor I have found my favorite programs that speak to me and my own interests. In the beginning it was Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes, Our America hosted by Lisa Ling, the reality show Your OWN Show and Master Class. Currently Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, Master Class, Oprah's Next Chapter and Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots are my top picks. Regardless of whether I can relate or enjoy everything on the channel, there is also a certain excitement in knowing that no matter what day you might tune in you are getting a glimpse into the wide-ranging demographics that Oprah has managed to speak to and inspire over the years.

In 2013 Oprah returned to the world of movies, starring alongside Forrest Whitaker in the powerful film THE BUTLER, once again receiving award nominations and praise for her role. So what is next for the woman that seemingly has everything? It’s hard to say, but regardless of what she chooses to do next, you can believe that the world will continue to watch, take notes and talk about how the little girl from Mississippi was able to conquer the world. In an open letter to the world in O Magazine she says her greatest achievement is this: "Never shutting my heart down." May we all be so fortunate in our lives.

To stay abreast of all things Oprah visit www.oprah.com.

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