Pageant Winners > Oprah Winfrey, Miss Black Tennessee, Miss Fire Prevention
Oprah Winfrey rose from humble beginnings in pageantry to become a titan of the entertainment industry. Before becoming an Emmy Award-winning television talk show host, Oprah won the 1971 Miss Fire Prevention and 1972 Miss Black Tennessee titles. When asked what she would do with a million dollars, Winfrey delighted the judges when she blurted out, “I’d be a spending fool!” She competed in the Miss Black America Pageant, but failed to make the finals.
Oprah began her career in broadcasting at Nashville’s radio-WVOL while she was in high school. At age, she became the youngest person and the first African-American woman to anchor the news at Nashville’s WTVF-TV.
In 1985, the A.M. Chicago Show which she hosted, was re-named The Oprah Winfrey Show – which became the highest rated talk show in television history.
That year, she made her acting debut as “Sofia” in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. She was nominated for both Academy Award and Golden Globe honors.
In 1988, she started Harpo Studios, her production company, based in in Chicago, which now produces The Oprah Winfrey Show.
In 2000, Oprah and Hearst Magazines launched O, The Oprah Magazine, a monthly women’s lifestyle magazine. In 2006, she fulfilled her dream of founding an elite private educational program for impoverished African girls when she founded The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.