Oprah Winfrey is the perfect example of a self-made billionaire because she literally rose from poverty and abuse to become one of the world’s most powerful women.
Her rags-to-riches story inspires many to work hard to achieve their dreams and to use their platform for good.
If you are not familiar with the media mogul’s backstory, then get tissues because her beginnings are truly humble.
Unlike other billionaires we know, Oprah was born to a poor family – her mother was just a teenager when she gave birth to her and was unmarried at the time.
The award-winning host recalled that they were so poor, she had to wear clothes made from potato sacks. When she was young she and her mother went to live with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee.
Her grandmother was strict and would spank her whenever she didn’t do chores or act nicely. However, she was also the one who taught Oprah to read and had brought her to church to recite Bible verses at only 3 years old, which gained the celebrity the nickname The Preacher.
At that age with that talent, her grandma believed that her granddaughter would someday pursue a career in media or communications.
Her early teenage years were also troubling because she suffered from abuse that caused her to run away at 13. She became a mother at 14 but lost her prematurely born son.
She got her life back on track when she started living with her estranged father, Vernon Winfrey, who, despite being strict, supported her schooling. When she attended East Nashville High School, she began receiving awards.
Oprah’s first break came when she became a part-time news reporter at WVOL, a local radio station in Nashville. She had her TV debut as a news anchor at WLAC-TV, where she became the youngest and the first black female to do so.
But it was in 1983 when she was hired to host AM Chicago, a morning show that eventually became The Oprah Winfrey Show, the top daytime talk show in the country. Her focus on delicate and controversial topics revolutionized the game.
From becoming a celebrated host, Oprah also dipped her toes into acting. She starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover in the movie The Color Purple, which earned her an Academy nod.
Now, Oprah is the CEO of Harpo Productions and her namesake cable channel. With her career in the industry spanning almost five decades, her net worth is at $2.8 billion.