Single-Minded: I Worked for Oprah

But I'm pretty sure she didn't know that I existed.

Posted:
 
(Continued from Page 1)

"Oh, that's my baby daddy," answered Gayle with a deadpan that told me that a), she knew she was being funny, and b), she'd probably said "baby daddy" more than once in her life. I was awestruck. I didn't need to meet Oprah because her BFF was this cool.

Weeks later, the eagle finally landed. Instead of huddling near the front desk like all the other should-be workers, I was stuck covering the phones at the receptionist's booth outside the office. I wouldn't even get a glimpse of Ms. Winfrey. For the past three months, I'd walked nearly eight miles a day just for the privilege of putting Oprah's name on my résumé. I had the emaciated figure to prove how hard I'd worked, but somehow, seeing her would make the whole thing more real. 

I was busy with a bowl of Top Ramen when I got the call that Cathie Black, then chairman of Hearst Magazines, would be stopping by. Could I let Oprah know? Could I! I smoothed down my H&M skirt and marched into the art department like I had something super important to say.

Whatever super-important voice I planned on using escaped me as soon as Oprah Winfrey looked up at me expectantly. She was a short giant. Her eyes were even bigger in person. I waited a beat before blurting out, "Cathie Black is coming!" with a squeak that had been on reserve since middle school. Oprah looked at me for just a half second more, gave me a little wink and went back to what she was doing.

A month later, I decided that I'd make my living writing as a journalist, and I've spent the last decade doing just that. Not because Oprah winked at me that one time when I was 21, but because I'd walked miles, risked malnutrition and come close to eviction for a calling that I wasn't sure I had the guts for.

But I did. As Oprah said on her final show this week, "Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out what that is and to get about the business of doing it."

Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM