My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk
by Robyn Okrant
There seems to be two popular schools of thought about Oprah Winfrey. People either love her or they believe that the people who love her are crazy automatons. In fact, more people are probably in the middle of that spectrum, like me. Yes, I used to tape the show everyday (until my VCR recently died) and watched every episode (except the ones where she interviewed celebrities who are also her friends – too gushy for me). Yes, I was a charter subscriber of O Magazine, until the subscription price went up to almost $30 a year. While the articles and book reviews are some of the best in the business (as a magazine-addict, I know), but the ads, products, and clothing were aimed at a demographic two tax-brackets above me. I canceled my subscription. So, yes I am a fan, definitely not a fanatic.
Robyn Okrant’s, experiment was basically to see what all the fuss was about. Why do women endure years-long waiting lists to get tickets for the show? Why do they seem to run out and buy anything that Oprah or one of her gurus mention? Why is she so powerful? Living Oprah is a month-by-month chronicle of Okrant’s following of the media queen’s advice from The Oprah Winfrey Show, O, the Oprah Magazine and Oprah.com.
“If Oprah gave a directive of any kind through one of these outlets, I’d follow it. If one of Oprah’s guests gave a piece of advice on her show, I’d act upon it only if Oprah personally backed it up. Additionally, if Oprah wrote a suggestion to us in her ‘Here We Go!’ letter or her ‘What I Know for Sure’ column in O magazine, I would take heed. In fact, if she made a suggestion anywhere in the public eye or ear, I latched on. I committed to taking all of her suggestions quite literally and would leave as little to interpretation as possible.”
This was a fun read, but it was also interesting in a sociological way. Okrant, a married, yoga teacher living in Chicago, basically had her life (and those around her) taken over by this experiment. Her Oprah to-do list (and the money spent to achieve some of the goals) was at times exhausting. Very glad I read this book.