What is left for the media empress and the symbol of inspiration? In a lengthy interview, Winfrey discusses her streaming strategy (including a possible interview series) that she has in mind until 2020 ("I'd like to see what's going on with Butta" – aka Pete Buttigieg) and the creative fire that is driving her now
It was 1984. Oprah Winfrey made her way to Hotel Bel-Air for the first time. As she meandered along Stone Canyon Road, the once impoverished Mississippi talk show presenter was mesmerized by the opulence behind towering gates.
"For the first time, I realized how rich white people really lived," she says. Seeing it firsthand was transformative. "Only to realize that there is another way of life, let me know that that is possible."
Her series of aha moments continued. The following year, Winfrey arrived at the office of Steven Spielberg, for which she made her film debut in The Color Purple . The role earned her an Oscar nomination and an invitation to his Amblin headquarters in LA. Up to this point, Winfrey had no idea that "you could have your own own studio ."
More than three decades later, Winfrey is a self-made billionaire ( Forbes estimates her fortune at $ 2.8 billion), with lush homes behind Gates and, yes, her own studio. She also has a TV network, a magazine of the same name, and a mega deal with Apple that includes a book club, documentary films, and ̵
When Winfrey (65) prepared to receive the Hollywood Reporter Her first Empowerment in Entertainment Award at a gala on April 30, she invited THR to her hotel suite in Manhattan, where she applied for her latest book The Path Made Clear . Sweats and black-rimmed glasses struck Winfrey's political agenda, her 60-minute walk and how she was ultimately coined by the story of marginalization.
What do you know about American politics you on the day that Trump was not sworn in, did not
I know that there is a deeper level of dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction that is stronger than anything I set myself could. Had I done the show Oprah at the time of the 2016 election, I would not have been surprised, because the result was my focus group in the world every day – every day came from red states and blue states with all sorts of Beliefs gathered in this shared moment of the Oprah Show . And the best time for me was not the show, but after the show, talking to all these people. I would have known and felt and heard it in other ways, and I would not have been surprised on election night.
What would you have done differently if you were equipped with this information? It's all backseat now, but I would have applied what I heard to the kind of shows we did. I would have emphasized all that was in a way that the polls could not do, or weekly news magazine broadcasts. I would not have been like, "Whoa, I did not know everyone was so crazy."
You have so much cultural power. Without even running in 2020 …
( Shake your head )
… how do you use it?
Right now, I & # 39; I am studying the field. I read Shortest Way Home from [Pete Buttigieg] I call him Buttabeep, Buttaboop. ( laughs. ) The name will either really hurt or [really help] – I think it will actually help. The other day I was with Spielberg at Apple and we were in the corridor and spoke (19459006) with a dramatic voice . "What do we do now?" And I said, "Did you hear about this Butta guy?" He says, "No, but who?" I go, "Buttabeep, Buttaboop. Look."
"Mayor Pete" feels lighter.
I like to say "Butta". ( Laughs. ) So I'm reading about him. I have Kamala's book. I have just received the piece Vanity Fair at Beto [O’Rourke]. I had previously collected some background information about him. I already know Cory [Booker]. I think softly where I will use my voice for support.
In the Vanity Fair Vanity Fair there is a line in which Beto states: "Oprah Winfrey, the anointing helped Barack Obama in 2008, practically invited him to an event in early February in New York City. "Is that true?
Oh, I do not think I practically implored him. When I read that, I thought, "That's not true." What I practically begged is, "Will you tell me if you are going [run] right now?" Even backstage, I said, "Well, if you do, let me know you will do it?" What he did not do So I sit back and wait to see. It is very clear who I support.
Trump has shown how entertainment can be used to promote harmful causes. How can progressive creative people create things that have a positive impact but do not feel like specials after school?
Specials at school? Oh my god, I think I actually did one. Laughing. ) I think with the spectrum of streaming services and [other channels] many people are doing it now, and there are no special offers after class. Television is so good these days. I do not look much because I have to see a lot on my own channel. The only thing I look at is The Crown and it's so good. I heard you just found a new Diana. The fact that I even know that …
I remember talking to you when you started OWN, and you had big plans for spiritual programming …
Oh yeah, me had delusions. Someone who will take me out of my crazy, mental wardrobe, please.
In today's landscape, with the "apples" and "netflixes" you mentioned, is there room for this type of programming in a way that did not exist then?
I learned from this experience. And, oh boy, that was a hard lesson. You have to meet the people where you are, not where [you are]. Not everyone wants to talk to Eckhart Tolle all day. I do. I can have it for dinner every night, but not everyone wants that. So I got that.
This brings me to Obama's push in production. What are the chances for him and Michelle at Netflix and what pitfalls?
Oh, they can do anything they want.
What advice did you give?
When you started, he called me by name, and I offered him some. They were not the people he chose, but that's fine. There is nobody like her. Nobody. Your desire to use this medium to tell stories, show us our story for an informative and inspirational approach to the content – I look forward to seeing whats happening.
They made a prominent contribution to Apple's first programming presentation in late March. What will you do for them that you can not do at OWN?
Apple exposes you to a whole host of people. The thing I really, really, as I said that day, is excited is the founding of the world's largest book club. And if I want to make a movie or a documentary series … The best place for [my docuseries on mental health] is not on OWN. Since you do not have the bandwidth and you need to create a completely different audience, you also need to do marketing.
One of your other Apple projects concerns sexual abuse in the workplace. If you succeed, what will you have revealed?
My mission is always to tell other people, "They are not alone." Of course we will do the women in Hollywood and the music business, but for me it was important to see waitresses and factory workers and nurses and nuns and people you would never imagine to integrate into the world in their stories. I'm convinced that if you're only telling Hollywood story, you can only be partially heard.
Why is that?
Because, I think, a sense of the zeitgeist of "Well, OK, that's Hollywood, they're asking because they wanted to be in this industry and we've always heard about the casting couch." So I hope that people understand what a huge problem it is and that it is omnipresent – and strengthened by listening to other people's stories about their possibilities. It is the shame, the guilt, the keeping of the secret for yourself, that then indicates all your decisions and changes about who you are. Most women blame themselves.
What else would you like to do with Apple's collaboration?
I do not want to be in the daily rhythm when trying to get people to interview, but if there are people who are from the culture – like last year, I would sit down and have a conversation with Christine Blasey Ford want to lead. At the moment I would probably want to settle with Butta.
I knew it would return to Butta
. I'd like to see what's going on with Butta. ( laughs. ) And whatever else comes up. I have experienced such devastation in our own church in Santa Barbara [from deadly 2018 mudslides near her Montecito home] and realized what happens when the news cameras are gone. We were on the news for a few days, but people came to my house [long after] and went, "Oh my god, that's still ?" Yes, we've lost 21 people and two are getting still missing. I cleaned 154 trucks of mud from my backyard months later. And so … I think a lot about the people in paradise after [in fire-ravaged Northern California]. Really, I wake up in the morning and think about these people. I want to talk to you. I want to see how they are, and remind people that rebuilding a life takes time.
Do you see this as a single piece or as a series?
Maybe someday it will be a regular series.
They made a lot of noise when they dealt with Leaving Neverland about their special After Neverland . How did that happen?
I did not even have to be there. I did not have to accept all that. I said to myself the other day, "Why did I do that?"
Do you regret it?
No, I do not regret it. It was not really a regret, it was just … actually, I had dinner with friends and they said, "We saw that you were there." For example: "Why did you do that?" That's what happened. I saw it and was shocked. I was not even shaken by the fact that it was Michael Jackson, I was shocked by the fact that Dan Reed had done the pattern really well and had been trying for years to show people the pattern. I tried to say that it's not the moment, it's the seduction. The first thing I said to Gayle [King] when we saw it was: "Gayle, you must get these people [at CBS This Morning ]." She said, and I go, "No, you should not Instagram, you should just get these people."
How did you get that?
I sent [HBO’s former chairman Richard] Plepler a text and said, "Look, I'm trying to reach some of your people, what are you all doing with it?" I really did not just want to talk to the boys, but also to other people who saw it because I knew people were going to get it. I knew that there would be people who would be re-traumatized and see themselves in it, and I thought, "I can help thread the needle of what's really going on here."
I assume that you are not expected the setback?
Oh, the baiting? Honeeeeey I have not hated so much with Ellen since "The Puppy Episode". Winfrey was a therapist in the 1997 Ellen sitcom episode featuring Ellen DeGeneres' character] and it made me think, "Luckily, Ellen came in front of social media because you can to imagine that? " During "The Puppy Episode" I had to take the people who were at my switchboard in Harpo because of the vitriol from the switchboard. They were scared.
What did people say about this episode?
The N-word "Go back to Africa", bitch, hoes. … It became racist and homophobic and abominable and "rip you up", "it's against the Lord". I mean, you call it. Similar to Michael Jackson. I happened to be on Twitter and someone said, "Oprah Winfrey is a shame for the race" or something. Yes, the whole race. I decided, you know what? It will not be healthy for me, so I just did not care.
Have you heard of a Jackson family?
() Shake your head ) Because I did not even care about Michael Jackson. It was about the bigger problem.
Let's talk about the cultural accounting that is going on here. One of your 86 jobs is at 60 minutes which was shattered by his share of #MeToo incidents.
I do not do that anymore. I have moved away from it, so now I have only 85 jobs left.
I did not realize it.
I had actually been to all CBS ( executive producer) Jeff Fager (formerly 60 Minutes executive producer) and had said I would be I would work with Apple and that meant not that I would never do anything [with 60 Minutes ] but I would probably take all my energies and bring them into everything I wanted to do at Apple. It was an interesting experience for me. I enjoyed working with the teams and probably working with some of the freelance people on my Apple stuff, but it was not the best format for me.
I say that? It is never a good thing to have to practice my name and be told that I have too much emotion in my name.
I assume you did not get along well with you?  No, it did not fit well. I did it. I think I only made my name seven times because it was "too emotional". I go, "Is that too big emotion in the Oprah or Winfrey part?" I had a Deja Vu moment because I had actually experienced this when I was telling a story as a young reporter [where] that the family had lost their home and my boss said that I was telling them with too much emotion. I had too much feeling in the story. I thought, "Okay, you should not be involved in the story, I understand that, you're a journalist." However, the same applies to a reading [at 60 Minutes ]. They would say, "Okay, you need to flatten your voice, there's too much feeling in your voice." So I worked to break myself down and flatten my personality – which is actually not such a good thing for me.
Gayle has decided to stay with CBS News. What advice did you give her during a high-level hearing?
I said, "Get what you want, get exactly what you want, because now is the time, and if you do not get what you want, then do the next right footstep. "Even without me she would do that. But that was my advice, and I called her lawyer Allen Grubman and said, "Allen, she should get what she wants." And Allen says, "What do you think I'm doing here? I said the same to her!" The negotiations took place before her interview with R. Kelly.
Although this certainly gave her more influence.
I know. I sent her a text saying "Jesus loves you". But it could not have been better if I had done that myself. I think every interviewer thinks, "What would you have done in that moment?" And what she did was absolute perfection. I just thought it was unbelievable for that moment at the time she was in the midst of negotiations – but she always had [gift]. One of my girls, a journalist, sent me a text saying, "Oh, Aunt Gayle, transferring goals." And I said, "No goals, no life goals, your life goal [should be] to be centered in the middle of the storm that pops up in your life."
In your estimation, this is the Time's Up Movement does enough to empower women really?
I am grounded in a spiritual sense: everything happens exactly as it should. The fact that it even exists, that there is an organization called Time's Up, created to empower and empower women, is exactly where we should be. And the new day on the horizon is actually there. On this new day, when a waitress in Idaho or a factory worker in Michigan heard that someone else was telling her story, she says, "Oh no, no, no, you can not talk to me like that, I will not do that more. "This is happening all over the country, so the culture is changing due to the Time's Up Movement.
Bring me back to your Golden Globes speech in 2018, when you first pronounced these words, "A new day is on the horizon." When did you first notice your effects?
At first, I always thought of someone applauding each time. I counted how many seconds it was because I was told that the speech was too long and I had to cut it off. That's what I was told during the rehearsal.
Surely assuming you did not cut it
I said, "I do not want it before [everyone]." They said, "Can you just read it?" The producer comes out later and says, "Darling, mighty, very moving, you have to cut back three minutes." This was the morning of. The morning of! And I'm like "What?" And then he said to me, "I know how much you care about your colleagues, you'll be at the top of the class, where are the best actresses and best actors and I know you do not want to spend time away from them . "
Playing the Debt Card …
Yes, now it's my fault when other people do not have time. But I did not know how to do it. I thought about taking the whole story of the woman who died, Recy Taylor, but she does not fit without her because that was my floor. So I did not cut it and I was scared all the time. In all my speeches I've never had a dry mouth in my life. I was panicking. When people got up, I said, "Oh my God, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, oh my God, four seconds, five seconds, sit down, sit down!" And as I neared the end, I go, "You can not cut me." That's all I think. "Do not cut me." But I did not follow the rules, and I expected them to do it. When I left with Reese [Witherspoon]I said, "Oh my god, they did not cut me."
If I'm not mistaken, a variation of # Oprah2020 tends almost immediately.
We came to the back print room and they said, "They tend." And you'll love that: Originally, I wanted to interview the Time's Up Women [foraCBSSundayMorning segment in front of the Globes, and my Chief of Staff Amy Weinblum said to me, "You know, you probably should Wait the next day and do an interview because something can happen [at the ceremony]. "So all the while I was waiting for something to happen. Every time someone got up, I went, "No, I do not think that was it." "No, that was not it." And then she said, " She happened!" I was what happened. ( Laughs. )
I imagine you spent your career as the only woman and only black woman in many powerful spaces. How does this affect the decisions in your experience?
Oh, so many years there was no brown person or other woman within 50 miles. I just got used to it.
What happens if there is only one?
It's hard to hear if there's only one. I remember my friends would say – actually, people in college who were not my friends – said, "Oh, you're a sign," and I would say, "Yes, but I'm a paid sign and I & # 39; I will use it. "That really strengthened my resolve. Whenever I am in a situation where I feel marginalized or marginalized, I have used that information as what I should not do. For example, when the show Oprah became national for the first time, I went to the management of WLS-TV [the ABC-owned station in Chicago] – I do not name anything – and I said, "Everyone needs more money in this national show." They said direct quote: "Why do you need more money? You are a bunch of girls." I said, "Well, it's a bunch of girls doing a national show now." And they said, "They are in the same room, with the same desks and the same office, in the same street, they do not need any more money." In this first year, I gave all the bonuses. I had a big dinner and my idea of being creative was to roll $ 10,000 in toilet paper rolls as a gift, because I could not get the management to pay them. Then I went to the management and said, "If you do not pay them, I will not go to work." Next year it was like, "I'm not going to pay her anymore, I should not have to pay everyone out of my salary." That told me that if I got my own business, I would pay people well.
When did you develop this trust to fight back?
I remember working and working in Baltimore (19459045) In a position where I did exactly the same work as my co-presenter [male]he went to my boss and said: "Geez, I'd like to get a raise," and they say, "Why, your own home, have kids, have kids, have college pay, have a mortgage?" I just put my cock between my legs and said, "Thank you." And so I decided that I would not become an institutional anchor. I will go here because they can not see my value. But I did not blame myself for a minute. I just thought, "Oh, you do not understand." Even as a young reporter, I had the feeling there was something more important to do and say than what I'm doing here, out here chasing ambulances. I felt in my own midst that my life would not be on the street, a microphone in front of people's faces and every day looking for the worst that has happened to someone to report on. So there was the innate knowledge that this is not going to happen. I felt discriminated, depressed and marginalized all the time. I always thought, "It will not be long."
If you look ahead, what's left on your list?
More. ( Laughs .)
No, it does not feed me anymore.
Why not? One year ago, when you starred in A Time Fold I believe that this was still the case.
Yes. It did I was fed. But I think you have to do a lot to be really good at it. You have to work on it. And it has to be something that you have a true passion for. I do not think it's something to make friends with. It was fun to be Mrs. Which, and I did that because I wanted to go to New Zealand and wear costumes. But no, it does not feed my soul anymore. I can not imagine anything coming along except … Oh, I can not tell you, because if anyone else gets it, they'll know it was offered [first]. But on Broadway I was offered something – Scott Rudin sent me a letter saying, "You should take that role," and it was really very tempting.
When we sat down a few years ago, you were interested in the idea of returning to Broadway.
I wanted to do it. But then I did it. On one of my visits to New York, I actually sat in the room: you live in the city now and this is your corner and here you go for a walk with your dogs. Do you bring only one dog or do you bring all the dogs? Here you will buy groceries. This is your dry cleaner. How will you feel in this city without trees and grass? So I put myself into the future and worked through myself, and I thought, "I can do it for a month, I can not do it for six." I am strengthened and fulfilled through my connection with nature. I have all this crazy routine [in Santa Barbara]. Only after I got up to pee after 3:30 pm will I hit the blackout [shades] so the sun does not wake me, because then I can see all the benefits of the night. [I get to] see the moonlight on the ocean. Then I have the morning ritual where I hit the sunglasses and I just wait to see what the day is. Every day I go: "Look at you, day, look at you!" That will not happen here [in New York].
Two years ago, during a podcast, you told my colleague that you had last flown commercially in the early 1990s and can not remember the last time. A person did not recognize you immediately. Both answers have impressed me, and I'm curious: When did you last really miss your anonymity and what would you do first if you could get it back?
What a waste of time! That's the way it is. I accepted it.
But if you could go anywhere, do something.
But I do.
Yes. There is nothing I want to do. Except now, I think about going to a party when people have their cameras at the party. Because a party with people with their cameras is not really a party for me. You can be seen and literally stay away from the night. And if you do one, you have to do it all. But you must know all about me when we talk – I would be the same person if I were the fourth-grade teacher that I thought I would be.
I do, but I also know it's nice to be able to walk across the street to get a cup of coffee whenever I want.
Oh, I do all this stuff. And now there is a kind of respectful arm's length. When I was on TV every day, it was like "Hey, Oprah!" But now it is this respectful "Oh, you are". If it is not … you know, I was at Apple the other day, and this young girl started shaking and crying. She said, "But you do not understand." I just took her by the arms and said, "Are you alright?" And she said, "You do not understand." Ich gehe, "Ja, das tue ich." Sie sagt: "Nein, aber du nicht." Ich gehe, "Ja, das tue ich. Ich habe dich erzogen. Du bist von der Schule nach Hause gekommen und es war niemand zu Hause, oder? Jeden Tag, vier Uhr, war ich da." "Ja, ja, du hast mich großgezogen." Das wärmt mein Herz. Es gibt eine ganze Generation von Menschen, die etwa 30 Jahre alt sind, und das war ihr Leben. Und jetzt bekomme ich [also] "Meine Mutter liebt dich" und ich gehe: "Und du nicht ?"
Ich war beeindruckt, dass du den genauen Monat April 1991 wusstest , dass Sie Ihren letzten kommerziellen Flug genommen haben. Erzähl mir von diesem Tag.
Ich ging zu einer Preisverleihung für Aretha Franklin, und ich war auf dem Flughafen und ich wurde so vorgebeugt ( legt ihren Kopf zwischen die Knie ). und eine Frau kam zu mir und sagte: "Du benimmst dich nicht so, wie du es im Fernsehen tust." Und ich gehe: "Ich bin nur hier." Und sie sagt: "Oh, ich sehe dich. Der Versuch, inkognito zu sein." Und ich sage: "Nein, gnädige Frau." Sie sagt: "Weil Sie im Fernsehen immer Leute umarmen. Ich möchte eine Umarmung." Also stand ich auf und umarmte sie, dann ging ich zum Telefon und rief meinen Anwalt an. Ich sagte: "Ich werde es tun, ich werde das Flugzeug bekommen. Das wird meine letzte sein vierstündige Wartezeit im Chicago O'Hare Airport. "
Ja. Und niemand mag diesen Namen jetzt gerne erwähnen, aber ich hatte mehrere Gespräche mit Bill Cosby über ein Flugzeug. Ich versuchte es zu rechtfertigen, etwa: "OK, wenn ich 10 Personen in das Flugzeug setzen würde, wäre das für wie viele Flugpreise ich bezahlen müsste?" Und er sagte: "Sie werden es niemals rechtfertigen können, weil es ein wahrer Luxus ist. Sie können entscheiden, ob Sie den Sprung machen und es tun oder nicht, aber Sie werden das niemals rechtfertigen können Kosten. " Was wahr ist. [So, I took a] Glaubenssprung und ich schrieb diesen ersten Check – weil ich Rechnungen nicht ertragen kann – für meinen ersten G4 für die vollen 25 Millionen Dollar. Ich erinnere mich, dass ich Camille Cosby in Teterboro gesehen hatte, als ich ein Flugzeug charterte und versuchte, es zu rechtfertigen. Jemand sagte: "Oh, Mrs. Cosby ist da drüben. Möchten Sie Hallo sagen?" Also steige ich in Mrs. Cosbys Flugzeug und Mrs. Cosby ist mit einem Overall und Diamantohrstecker im Flugzeug. Sie ist auf dem Weg irgendwohin, um an ihrer Doktorarbeit zu arbeiten, und ich sagte: "Wo sind alle?" Und sie sagte: "Es gibt nur mich." Ich sagte: "Du wirst dieses ganze Flugzeug benutzen?" Und sie sagte: "Ich bin es wert." Genau so. Und ich ging: "Nun, wenn sie es wert ist, vielleicht bin ich es auch wert."
Das Interview wurde nach Länge und Klarheit redigiert.
Diese Geschichte erschien zuerst im die Ausgabe des Hollywood Reporter vom 30. April. Um das Magazin zu erhalten, klicken Sie hier, um es zu abonnieren.