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Rising from poverty to become the first African-American woman billionaire, Oprah Winfrey embodies the American dream. Through television, movies, books, and radio she speaks to women the world over. CNN and Time have called her “arguably the most influential woman in the world.” Through book recommendations, philanthropic activities, human rights awareness, and political activity, Oprah influences women around the world.

Oprah’s rise to fame and fortune started in high school, when she started working as a part-time news radio anchor. From there she moved on to local TV news, then to a morning talk show, which launched directly into The Oprah Winfrey Show. Though her show started out in the typical tabloid style, in the 90s it began to take on its own identity, including now famous book reviews, human interest stories, women’s health, gift giving, and psychological/spiritual themes. Her show has also been noted for many celebrity guests, whom she typically interviews in an intimate, friendly style.

Oprah’s career has not been without controversy, however. She has received criticism for not asking tough questions of guests she seems to like personally, and for refusing to have VP-nominee Governor Sarah Palin on her show, when she has had Senator Barack Obama on the show. She responded by saying that she didn’t want to politicize her show, and that she would welcome the opportunity to interview Sarah Palin after the election.

One of the most controversial criticisms of Oprah, however, has been in the area of spirituality. Through television, radio, and book reviews Oprah has embraced and promoted the teachings of New Thought spiritualism. Its teachings include the idea that you can achieve health, success, and happiness by visualizing what you want. This controversy has been amplified by statements she has made about the nature of truth and God, including one she made during a webinar: “God is a feeling experience and not a believing experience. If your religion is a believing experience…then that’s not truly God.”

Regardless of her criticisms, however, it is undeniable that Oprah is one of the (if not the) most influential women in the world.

Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman.

She was born in an economically troubled neighborhood and raised by a single-teenaged mother in the city of Milwaukee. Orpah, named after a biblical character, had a name no one could pronounce, so her family and friends starting calling her Oprah. Shortly after Oprah's birth, Vernita Lee left her daughter and traveled north. Oprah was then raised by her grandmother,Hatti Mae Lee. Oprah while being raised by her grandmother lived in terrible conditions. Oprah's only friends were farm animals,however even at that age Oprah had a very imaginative mind. Oprah would frequently give the animals dramatic parts and included them in games. This was perhaps where she had gotten the craze for acting, and would soon be seen in legendary masterpieces such as The Color Purple (1985). Oprah because of her grandmother's values, had religion and God instilled in herself at a very young age. Oprah because of her grandmother knew how to read,and write before the age of three. Oprah during church would recite poems,and verses from the bible. Soon the church, and the entire neighborhood knew she had a gift and was nicknamed,"The Little Speaker".

Graduated from East Nashville High School in Nashville, Tennessee (1971), where she was voted most popular.

Graduate of Tennessee State University, with a degree in Speech and Performing Arts.

Is the first woman in history to own and produce her own talk show.

Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca, New York. [1994]

Her immensely popular TV talk show is a Harpo Production. Harpo is Oprah spelled backwards. Harpo is also the name of a character in The Color Purple (1985) (Oprah's film debut) played by Willard E. Pugh.

First African-American woman to become a billionaire in American history.

What matters is how you feel inside, because feeling beautiful on the inside is key to looking good.

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never , ever have enough.

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Created with images by Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) - "Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) New Year Resolution For 2015" • lwpkommunikacio - "Oprah Winfrey: Hit" • QuotesEverlasting - ""Turn our wounds into wisdom." -Oprah Winfrey" • QuotesEverlasting - "Oprah Winfrey - I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become." • QuotesEverlasting - "''Oprah Winfrey - Don't settle for a relationship that wont let you''"

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