I think that success is a process. And I believe that my first Easter speech, at Kosciusko Baptist Church, at the age of three and a half, was the beginning. And that every other speech, every other book I read, every other time I spoke in public, was a building block. So that by the time I first sat down to audition in front of a television camera, and somebody said, “Read this,” what allowed me to read it so comfortably and be so at ease with myself at that time, was the fact that I had been doing it a while. If I’d never read a book, or never spoken in public before, I would have been traumatized by it. So the fact that we went on the air with The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986, nationally, and people said, “Oh, but you are so comfortable in front of the camera; you can be yourself.” Well, it’s because I’ve been being myself since I was 19, and I would not have been able to be as comfortable with myself had I not made mistakes on the air and been allowed to make mistakes on the air and understand that it doesn’t matter.
There is no such thing to me as an embarrassing moment. No such thing. If I tripped and fell, if my bra strap showed, if my slip fell off, if I fell flat on my face. There’s no such thing as an embarrassing moment, because I know that there is not a moment that I could possibly experience on the air that somebody else hasn’t already experienced. So, when it happens, you say, “Oh, my slip fell off!,” and it’s no big deal. I was on TV the other day, and somebody says, “Oh Oprah, you have a run!” Have you not seen a run before in your life? Well, I get them too. Let me tell you. So I can’t be embarrassed. When I first started out, that was not true because I was pretending to be somebody I was not.