’ She let out a big laugh and, as she was walking away, said, “I have learned that being-fully-present thing.I am 1,000 percent fully present.”When the shoot is finally over, I am taken to the teahouse, a romantic, open-air stone structure Oprah built for the sole purpose of reading in the morning while drinking her tea.During one of those hikes, I asked if she had ever imagined she’d be on the cover of ? “And soooo began my long plunge into food and depression and suppressing all my feelings.”What had been “the happiest time I’ve ever spent on the planet” had turned into her most miserable failure, and she sank like a stone.“I actually started to think, Maybe I really am depressed. She stopped running around to movie theaters where was showing to buy blocks of tickets to try to get the box office up (true story) and pulled herself together. I was intimidated by the work, but in the end, what’s the worst that can happen?
“I was trying to start the network, finish a scene, go off to do an interview, come back, do another scene for two days, and then leave again,” she says. No other actor is trying to run a network, be on the network, be the network. “Well,” she finally says, “I don’t think about it.” Another long pause. .” Which is exactly what happened last year, when Du Vernay offered her a part in , a Disney adaptation of the wildly popular Madeleine L’Engle young-adult fantasy novel published in 1962. There’s not a human being alive who doesn’t want—in any conversation, encounter, experience with another human being—to feel like they matter. about what happened every day on the Oprah show is that people would dress up like they were going to church. “I thought I was going to bring this spiritual consciousness– care about that. So what I learned is, you got to give them—what did I call ’em? You need snackable spirituality—snackable, digestible moments in an entertaining format, so people can receive it.”After a rocky start, followed by an exclusive partnership with Tyler Perry and then a realization that reality TV and soap operas might be necessary evils when you are programming for 24/7/365, OWN has finally found its métier.Because it’s more than ‘I feel bad about this.’ I felt like I was behind a veil. “That’s when the gratitude practice became really strong for me,” she says, “because it’s hard to remain sad if you’re focused on what you have instead of what you don’t have.”Her very public failure also taught her to detach. You get bad reviews—but in the age of Trump, it will be over in a day.”Perhaps the main reason Oprah has returned to film acting is not just the recent uptick in the availability of actual roles for black women over 60, but also that she is being but also the person, the self-made legend. Once she’s committed, once she’s present, there is a kind of flow and trust that develops on the spot.