5 things to know about the first black female billionaire Oprah Winfrey - Business Leader News

5 things to know about the first black female billionaire Oprah Winfrey

Having been previously ranked as the most influential woman in the world, the first black female billionaire, and the greatest black philanthropist in US history, we’re sure you’re well aware of who Oprah Winfrey is. But here are 5 things that you might not know about the famous talk show host.

She was born into poverty

Born in rural Mississippi to a single teenage mother, Winfrey spent the first six years of her life living in poverty with her grandmother. Her grandmother was reportedly so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made out of potato sacks, which led to other children making fun of her.

But despite living in poverty, Winfrey was taught to read by her grandmother at just three years old, leading to her being nicknamed as “The Preacher” for her ability to recite bible verses at the local church.

Former beauty pageant winner

After a spell living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the age of 6, Winfrey moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where, aged 17, she won the Miss Black Tennessee Beauty pageant.

During this time, Winfrey was hired by WVOL, a local black radio station where she was hired to read the news on a part-time basis.

She hosted the most-watched interview of all time

Although Winfrey has interviewed countless celebrities over the years, her interview with US pop sensation Michael Jackson in 1993 is arguably her most famous.

Airing on the ABC network and viewed by 36 million people, the interview was the 4th most-watched event in American television history and the most-watched interview of all time.

Winfrey was talking openly about sexual abuse back in 1986

Whilst discussions of abuse and mental health might be more commonplace today, it was a different story during the 1980s.

However, this didn’t stop Oprah Winfrey from talking candidly about her own experiences of sexual abuse at the hands of male relatives and her mother’s friends on a special episode of her show that aired in 1986.

Academy Award nominee

If Winfrey’s tv career and philanthropy wasn’t already impressive enough, especially after coming from such humble beginnings, the fact that Winfrey has also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple could be seen as the icing on what is already one quite remarkable cake.