Oprah Talks Branding, Acting and Leisure Time

Celebrities Visit Broadway – April 4, 2012

A very fly looking Oprah Winfrey is in the new Harper’s Bazaar and in her interview, discusses her network, her brand, her return to acting, and how she spends what little leisure time she does have.

On the initial mistakes of her OWN network:

"Now I wish that I’d come down just a little bit," Winfrey says of the Everest to her pre-conquered Kilimanjaro. "I ask myself, ‘Why couldn’t you just take three months off?’"

But she didn’t. Why? "Because I was already in it," she answers bluntly. "What was missing from OWN was me. It required my full-on energy. You know, this past year has been challenging, but it’s also been one of the greatest experiences for me getting to know me. What do you do when you don’t have the wind at your back?" She lets out her booming laugh. "All these nature metaphors!"


On how she came to accept her brand:

She sees, in some way, what she does as a calling and her heart as her "brand." But it prompts the question: Is it ever possible to separate the two? "No, I’ve never been divorced from it," Winfrey says. "Every decision that I ever made came from the heart of me, and that’s what created the brand, you know? I used to resist this whole idea of being a brand. Because I was like, I’m not a brand, I’m just a person. But now I accept that. It’s everything that I value."


A day in the life of O and keeping up with Gayle King:

Her schedule is manic. Winfrey is an early bird, up by 5:45, 6 A.M. ("Stedman’s usually up at 5:30.") Breakfast of late is "blackberries and half a banana, some almond milk and a little protein powder." While still in bed she reads a passage from TheDailyLove.com, then from The Bowl of Saki: "It’s like the Sufi Daily Word." Then it’s a workout, followed by either travel or doing "five or six" calls with her network heads, or both, and, she says, sighing, "trying to work out how social media will fit in there." (Winfrey is also working on getting seven graduates of her girls’ school in South Africa settled in American colleges.) She doesn’t catch up with famed best friend Gayle King as regularly these days, given that King, a cohost of CBS This Morning, needs to be asleep nightly by 8:30. "I was on the phone with Gayle the other night," Winfrey recalls. "She asked me a question, and then it was…snore!" She howls with laughter.


On returning to acting:

Along with "finishing the job I started with this network," Winfrey has ventured back into acting, in Lee Daniels’s The Butler, out next year. In Oprah-land, a role in a film by the director of Precious and The Paperboy was "a little mini vacation, but," she lowers her voice dramatically, "I didn’t know what the hell acting was! I just now figured it out. I am so stunned because all this time I’ve been doing it wrong!" (Hoot and a high five.)

She’s been working with Nicole Kidman’s acting coach, Susan Batson, calling it "the best therapy ever. I was literally in a coaching session with her and just crying my heart out. Thinking about, you know, a boyfriend from when I was in my 20s. That bastard!"

On Fifty Shades of Grey and her love of bathing:

She has downloaded all Fifty Shades of Grey novels. "Oh, I’ve got all the Shades, for the time I can take some guilty pleasure and just read. But I’m thinking, Stop with the story, get to the juicy part!" Her greatest indulgence, however, is a bath. "Bathing is my hobby. I love creating bathing experiences—bath gels, bubbles, crystals, salts, lavender milks…" Does she go prune? "Oh, yeah! I go prune. I go waaaay prune. I’ve gone to sleep."

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