Oprah on Seventeen magazine: "When I was growing up, Seventeen magazine was like my bible. It was 50 cents a copy. I was at the drugstore every month—I knew the date that they were dropped because I never had enough money for a subscription, but I saved my 50 cents and I was there. Whatever Seventeen magazine said, I did.
So I want this channel [OWN] to sort of be what Seventeen magazine was for me: a space where I could be comforted, a space where I could get some guidance, a space where I could be entertained, a space that was fun for me, where I was allowed to feel most like myself. To me, it's a channel where people will see themselves, and their ideals and their values and their hopes, see their struggles, see who they are through the lives of others—in a real way, that enriches them."
Oprah on taking her magazine to the small screen: "In April 2007, David Zaslav, the head of Discovery, came to me holding an O magazine, talking about the fact that his wife had given it to him and that he wanted to create a channel based on living your best life, because he thought the magazine did such a great job of executing that idea. So I took him into my office and showed him what I'd written in my journal. And I felt instinctively like, Oh my God, so this is how it happens. I realized it was of divine order when he came to see me based upon what I had done in the magazine. He didn't say, "Let's create another Oprah show"; he said, "What you're doing is really perfect for a channel—how do we create a channel that helps people the same way your magazine does?" So I said, "Oh my goodness! This is a sign!"
Oprah on ego: "Ego doesn't roll up its sleeves. If you just want your name on a channel and you just want to look at a pretty logo, get yourself some stationery and call it a day! So I literally sat down with myself and went through my journals and the process of, Why are you doing it? Would you do it if your name wasn't on it, if you got no credit whatsoever for doing it, and nobody ever knew that you were involved with it? I lived with that for a while. And the answer was, yeah, I would still want to create that kind of programming—I would like for people to have that space to go to. A breathing space—where you knew that something would always be there to fill you.
Oprah on faith: "Years ago Maya Angelou told me she was in some class, and the instructor told her to repeat, "God loves me." God loves me. Say it again: God loves me. The magnitude of the universal force that created the mountains, the trees, the oceans, the skies—loves you? If you can create a space to take all of that in, there is no fear, ever. And ultimately that is what I came to when I was talking myself down from my anxiety about starting OWN. I remember one morning being in Maui and looking at Lahaina from my window, and I could see the clouds coming up, and it was an apricot morning sky. I was in my bedroom that looks like the bow of a ship where you can see 280 degrees on either side of Maui. And I thought, Here you are, in bed, afraid of making the next move and look at where you are...look at where you are. Look at where you have been brought from. I started thinking about my little house in Mississippi, and I started to cry. I thought, Look at all the times when God didn't leave you alone. And I thought, Okay, okay: God is not going to give me this opportunity and just leave me alone—why would I be put in this position, just to fail?
Read the full interview transcript here.
Girl With a Satchel