A Look at 19-Year-Old Oprah Smiling Widely after Being Hired as TV Reporter

A throwback photo of a young Oprah Winfrey has surfaced reminding us of how this phenomenal woman started as a 19-year-old venturing into the world of TV reporting. She was carrying with her a painful past that only made her stronger.

We know her as a successful television personality who branched out into a multi-million entertainment mogul and network owner. But way before she gained success, Oprah Winfrey was a young woman with a dark childhood who began her career as a TV reporter when she was 19. 

"We look into your eyes and see the light and hope in ourselves."

AN IMAGE OF HOPE

That young woman recently surfaced on Oprah’s O Magazine Instagram. She was photographed outside a television station, the one that hired her as a reporter, her first job. 

Fresh-faced and wearing a floral dress, Oprah smiled under the sun.  She was young and probably unaware that she was about to embark on a career that would take her to unimaginable heights.

At age nine, after her mother took her back in, she was molested by her uncles. By the time she was 14, she was pregnant and contemplating suicide

“Dear beautiful brown-skinned girl, we look into your eyes and see the light and hope in ourselves,” the caption read. “#tbt to a 19-year-old @oprah posing outside the television station where she had just been hired as a reporter!”

HER HUMBLE AND TROUBLED BEGINNINGS

We can imagine during those days Oprah never dreamed she’d live the life she has today. Born from humble beginnings, she was forced to live with her grandmother because her mother was single, too young and poor to take care of her. At age nine, after her mother took her back in, she was molested by her uncles. By the time she was 14, she was pregnant and contemplating suicide. To make matters worse, her mother kicked her out of their home.

She gave birth to a son who died due to premature complications but she stayed strong and hopeful because of her father’s encouragement.

A SAFE HAVEN OF HOPE

It was in the arms of her father that Oprah turned to. And it was there that her life started to turn around. He gave her a safe haven to thrive in. She gave birth to a son who died due to premature complications but she stayed strong and hopeful because of her father’s encouragement. Soon, Oprah began to gain her confidence and trusted her instincts to lead her to the right path. She joined a beauty pageant that won her the title of Miss Black Tennessee in 1972. 

EASING INTO THE LIMELIGHT

It was at that point when the winner’s limelight shined on her that Oprah decided to turn to a career on television. At 19, she landed her first television job and soon, she became the first African American female news anchor in Nashville. By 1976, she moved to Baltimore where she became the co-anchor of WJZ’s evening news. When that didn’t work out for her, she transferred to morning TV as a co-host for Baltimore’s “People Are Talking.” It was here that she realized her love for hosting a talk show. She eventually landed her own talk show in Chicago called "AM Chicago."

Oprah says what drove her to become a success was her courage to embrace her life’s purpose.

For years, Oprah impressed with her show’s outstanding ratings, even surpassing legend Phil Donahue's. By 1985, her program was renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and the rest we now know is history.

"THE PATH MADE CLEAR"

Looking at that 19-year-old woman in the photo, you’d never think she’d become who she is today. It is a story worth looking back to over and over again. In her new book, “The Path Made Clear,” Oprah says what drove her to become a success was her courage to embrace her life’s purpose. Despite being told she had the wrong color and size she forged on anyway fueled by her passion for hosting.

Oprah turned 65 this year, yet she still soars high as she pursues other passions which include film, books, philanthropy, production, network management, and a dedication to educating women in Africa.

She is one of the most powerful women today. Regardless of a painful childhood and troubled past, she managed to rise above it, reach greater heights, and give back when blessings overflowed. She truly is an inspiration to many women.