Nobody commands a stadium like Oprah Winfrey. Statuesque and poised with her ever-infectious confidence and warmth, Oprah greeted a Houston audience in a floor length vibrant yellow gown at the Toyota Center on Friday night — and attendees did not leave disappointed.
For a stadium that is usually packed shoulder to shoulder with passionate basketball fans or giddy concert groupies, the Toyota Center turned into what can only be described as a middle-aged dance party during the "Oprah's The Life You Want" stop in Houston.
Imparting her signature feel good serum, self-help mantras and quote-worthy wisdoms, Winfrey guided the mostly female audience through the captivating story of how she was born into a poor rural Mississippi home and eventually became a world-renowned television personality.
The Toyota Center turned into what can only be described as a middle-aged dance party during Oprah's stop in Houston.
During the event, the media mogul shared a plethora of interesting and lesser-known facts about her life and work. For those who weren't there to witness the big money show, here are five things we learned about Winfrey:
She loves energy
After years of watching the Oprah Winfrey Show, I learned that Winfrey is deeply religious, but I never knew just how spiritual she was until Friday night. If there was one word that was repeated throughout the evening, it was energy. Energy. Energy. Energy.
Paraphrasing Newton's First Law, "Every action has a reaction," Oprah professed that the energy people put out into the world is exactly the energy they receive in return. That those who send out love will receive enrichment, and those who exhibit fear will feel that negativity in return.
She still remembers that terrible Texas beef incident
In 1998, Oprah was engulfed in a Texas lawsuit so dramatic, it practically resembled an episode of Dallas. To explain: In 1996, Winfrey ran a segment about mad cow disease that inspired a group of Texas cattlemen to sue the then talk show host for slandering their meat. The $10.3 million dollar lawsuit dragged on for weeks, but the jury eventually ruled in Winfrey's favor.
"Everything stands outside of you to tell you who you are. Be still and know who you are."
Ironically, Winfrey said those tiring weeks of litigation served as a test of character. Though these cattlemen were saying that Winfrey set out to ruin the beef industry, she knew she had no malicious intent with her words.
"Everything stands outside of you to tell you who you are," she says. "Be still and know who you are."
Just like your grandma, Oprah tells the same stories over and over again
If there is one qualm I have with Winfrey, it's her tendency to tell the same stories over again. Case in point: In Houston, Winfrey narrated the story of how she auditioned for The Color Purple, realized she wasn't going to be cast in the film, went to a health retreat and surrendered her sadness only to receive a call from Steven Spielberg saying she had been cast in the movie.
I and many others in the audience already know this story since Oprah tells it nearly every chance she gets. Here's the evidence if you don't believe me. Please don't misunderstand me: Her messages are powerful, but I can't help but wonder if she doesn't have something fresh up her sleeve after all these years of life-altering experiences.
She loves to cook
As Winfrey put it, she loves to cook when she feels like it, which may mean she only cooks a few times a year. And yet, I can't imagine how fun it would be to sit alongside Winfrey as she prepared for one of her remarkable dinner parties. She even captivated audiences with the story how she once made a stuffed goose for her boyfriend Stedman, but that he showed up too late to eat it.
Long story short: Winfrey was mad and Stedman never did it again. Winfrey even detailed her recent truffle hunting trip in Italy that she took with her best friend Gayle King. Just like us, Winfrey loves food.
Every Oprah guest seeks acceptance
"We all desire to know we matter and that we are heard," Winfrey says. In all of her years of doing show after show, Winfrey admits that each and every guest — including "Beyonce with all her Beyonce-ness" — asks Winfrey how they did at the conclusion of the segment.
Even Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush turned to the host for the thumbs up or thumbs down. In truth, it's good to know that even Beyonce occassionally needs approval.