I was skeptical when I learned that the great “O” had scheduled a new show after a 3 month hiatus. But this time she’d be on with a twist–she was going to harness the power of the internet and social media. And then I got the call, um, tweet: ?Would I be interested in coming down to the studio and tweet, blog, update my Facebook status (whatever) while she holds her live show?” Me? Little me? From Baltimore?
If you were to ask her, Oprah would tell you that her true calling is as a teacher. She prefers smaller, more intimate groups instead of the larger, syndicated audiences. So she decided to create an hour long life “class” to embellish upon her greatest “take-aways” from talk shows, interviews and her own personal experiences over the past 25 years in the business. Who better to share her insight into these shows, guests and unexpected outcomes than the hostess herself, Oprah Winfrey? And one feels as if she is talking to her friends and closest confidants during the show. The viewer actually gets the “behind-the-scenes” scoop about what Oprah was really thinking during specific shows and how some of them actually impacted her life.
Oprah can actually interact with her audience via Skype, Facebook, twitter and the OWN site. The experience, this time, is actually personal. And guess what? Oprah’s real personality shines through. There’s a feeling of “hey, let’s just kick off our shoes and discuss what’s important!” And, of course, while she is reflecting, she is funny, a bit irrelevant and not as politically correct as she was on syndicated television. (Yes, she even swear a bit.) She comes across as a friend and mentor not the billionaire talk-show diva, producer, actress, etc. etc. with whom we are all familiar.
I had the privilege (yes, I said it) of attending one preview show and two “live” shows: one addressing the impact of anger and the power of letting it go and the other entitled “Joy Rising.” While I tweeted and commented until my little fingers thought they would fall off with exhaustion, my mind became more and more invigorated and, dare I say it: Alive with excitement. I caught what I can only assume is something akin to “Oprah Fever!” And no, I was not jumping up and down, making a crazy “O” sign with my hands or singing her theme song (I had a computer on my lap, people!), but I did leave the classes a changed (for the better) woman. And I think that it had more to do with Iyanla Vanzant’s presence.
Iyanla was Oprah’s guest on both of the shows and she basically took them over. When guests described their challenges, one could see that Iyanla was truly listening and received their comments with calm affect and grace. Her responses, while also graceful and her words profound, had a realistic component to them. Rather than allowing the callers to dwell in self pity, she encouraged them to address their issues straight on and use the following mantra”Ommmm, what the heck….Do it anyway….” to get through whatever was holding them back. Great advice. I could spend another blog post just writing about this insightful and forthright life coach. Needless to say, the majority of my tweets were direct quotes of some of the “kernels” or “nuggets” of guidance she shared with the audience. If you are interested, email me and I will send you some of the things that I posted and learned.
It was clear that Iyanla and Oprah are good friends. She disagreed with, argued and coached Oprah while they sat together in front of the smallish live audience. Iyanla did not hold back on her comments to and about Oprah and the outcome was extraordinary. At some point the celebrity stopped being OPRAH and reverted back to being just another person (one certainly adept at interviewing and inspiring) but also just another woman struggling with image issues, life’s disappointments and its joys. And I think that’s what she really wants to show her audience. Yes, she is OPRAH and is influential blah, blah, blah but she is also just another person who has to get up in the morning and face herself in the mirror.
There is a lot more to say about my time spent with Oprah and Iyanla and I promise to discuss more of the moment-to-moment activities in an upcoming blog post. But for now, I need to “bustle my hustle” and straighten up my house. My sister is coming to Chicago with her boyfriend and I don’t want her to report back to my mother that I am completely incapable of keeping an organized home! Oh! The horror!