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A role model. When one hears that word many people think of something or someone who has impacted their life in a positive way. In my opinion a perfect example of a role model is Oprah Winfrey. She’s an African American who is not only a symbol for black people everywhere, but a symbol for all people. The Academy of Achievement has referred to Oprah Winfrey as one of the most successful and admirable woman in America. She is a woman that many people across America trust, respect, and look up to. Her ability to capture the hearts of many has distinguished her role in today’s society. Oprah has live through a rough childhood, has had a great education, and has received many awards as well as recognition. Her efforts in providing and giving back to America as well as other parts in the world has gotten her the title of being one of the worlds most influential people.
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She was born into a family that did not have much money but were still able to make ends meet. Originally she was named Orpah Gail Winfrey after one of the people from the bible books of Ruth. It was changed because of the difficulty people had in pronouncing her name so the r and the p were reversed. Her mother is Vernita Lee and her father is Vernon Winfrey. For part of her life she also lived with her grandmother Hattie Mae. While living with her grandma she was able to learn how to read before the age of three. By the time she was able to read she was up in front of the church reciting bible verses and making speeches. At the age of six she moved away from her grandmother to the city were she was raped by her own flesh and blood. Though she lived a hard life she was still able to maintain her grades as well as being jumped two grade levels higher. As a young child she did not have the luxury and opportunities that many of us have today. But one day that all changed. By the age of thirteen she was given a full scholarship to attend one of the most prominent schools in the suburbs. It was a decision she had to make especially because it was an all white school. This was the part in Oprah’s life that made sense for once, but it was soon to end. (Wikipedia, 2006)
At the age of thirteen she ran away from home in hopes of finding a better life. She was then sent to live with her father Vernon Winfrey and that was probably the best thing that happened to her at the time. He taught her discipline, principles, and values that each and everyone of us should contain. He required her to read books and write book reports every week and from this she learned to work hard. As stated by Oprah Winfrey “he had some concerns about me making the best of my life, and would not accept anything less than what he thought was my best.”(Academy of Achievement, 2006) He made her education a priority and because of that she was determined to do her best. She became an honor student and even joined the school speech team were she placed second in the nation under dramatic interpretation. She continued to maintain her grades and do well all through high school. When she graduated she was given a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. (Wikipedia, 2006)
While she was in college she worked part time at a local radio station. She then realized that she enjoyed being on the radio. After being on the radio for a while she took it to the next level by being the first and youngest black female anchor at Nashville’s WTVF-TV. From here she began to expand her career in the entertainment industry, where she soon found her passion.( Wikipedia,2006)
In 1983 she then decided to move to Chicago, Illinois where she started to work on a half hour show called the AM Chicago. The show was at the lowest place in its category but when Oprah took over it went from last place to the number show in Chicago. Not to long after it was changed into The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for an hour everyday. The show quickly grew becoming the number one daytime talk show in America. Her show was a success because of the many issues and topics that revolved around the world and were able to catch the audience’s attention. At this moment was when her career actually took off, and it was at this time she had become an American Icon. (Wikipedia, 2006)
Her hard work and dedication to her job was what made her a three time daytime Emmy award winner in the categories of outstanding talk/service program, outstanding direction. Not only did she have her own talk show but she was also a very talented actress. She stole the hearts of many in her 1985 movie The Color Purple. Her performance got her nominated for both the Oscars and the Golden Globe Awards for best supporting actress. Her talent for entertainment has led her to becoming the first black woman billionaire.
She has managed to become a world-renowned entrepreneur and she has built