Oprah has inspired people by the way she's lived her life.
Former U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey will be travelling across Canada this month, stopping by four Canadian cities, including Montreal, on her Your Path Made Clear (Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose) tour.
We spoke to Canadians who will be attending Winfrey’s shows, which kick off Sunday in Montreal, about what effect she has had on their lives.
She will also be presenting in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver and will be joined by a special guest at each venue. You can find available tickets here.
Johann Aceron-McLean, Edmonton
“Oprah, she’s just so authentically herself. I try to be like that. … My role, as someone who’s been a single mom for a while, I learned that you need to ask yourself: “What do I want to do?” … When you’re a single mom, and you’re on your own, you’re doing this and that. I had to provide for my kids. I had to go to school, I was working, doing a practicum, helping my parents with childcare. … With Oprah, she just followed her path. A lot of people wallow in and believe that their life sucks, but I’ve never done that. … Why I think she has so many fans, is because people want to be her. They don’t want the talk shows and all the money, but it’s how she lives her life unapologetically. … Even with her weight, she’s just healthy. … The media makes it seems like everyone needs to be a size 2. Having an eight-year-old girl, who’s so susceptible … it’s great to see that Oprah is just herself, and she loves it. Everyone should be that way.”
Pascale Costanzo, Montreal
“I’ve been through very dark times in my life. When I was younger … I was living a junkie’s life. I was using drugs, doing prostitution, I had two kids and was watching Oprah whenever I could. But she gave me a lot of “ah-ha” moments, where at one point, I just decided: That’s enough. I can’t just ruin my life and the life of my kids like this. I have other things to do and other places to be.
“So I reached out for help and I changed my life. … Now, I have three kids, I’m not using, I’m working (as a workforce manager) and I have a great life. … She, and all the guests she had, showed me that our past doesn’t define what we are. It’s not because I was a junkie and prostitute in the past that it has to follow me for the rest of my life. I can be a better person. … Oprah also talks about how she was abused when she was young. I’ve also been abused when I was young, and again, that doesn’t define what we are. … When I found out that I was going to see her this Sunday, I cried, I’m full of gratitude. … I wish I could meet her, I would say: ‘Thank you for helping me change my life around.’ ”
Yasmin Abidi, Vancouver
“Oprah is a role model. I also try to be a good person, have a good heart, do good for people, animals, and try to be an example for other people. … If I’m a positive role model or example to even one person in the world, that’s great, because it only takes one person to make a difference. … Every time I hear her speak, she connects with people, she tries to understand them deeply and be present with them. Those are important qualities that I try to carry forward.”
Katherine Eriksen, Calgary
“Oprah is living proof that if you have a big dream and you put a bunch of energy behind it, you can achieve whatever you want. That’s what she kind of embodies to me. … Oprah is super inspiring, because she’s such a megastar in terms of all of the different businesses that she’s run successfully. … I’ve been really lucky, I’ve had an awesome career, and I’ve been able to grow with the organization that I work for right now. … I’m a strong believer in whatever you put in, you get it back. So if you put out positivity, excitement and energy toward your team, that just flows through everything, and it’s contagious. When I first started with my current company as a general manager of a recruiting firm, it was myself and one other person. … We’ve weathered some really bad storms, in a really harsh economy, but we’ve actually come out the other side stronger, and now we’re going to be at 10 people. … What Oprah represents to me is someone who may have been afraid to do certain things in her life, but she didn’t let those things limit her or stop her from pursuing her goals. I’ve tried to do the same.”