Oprah Winfrey inspires fans in Calgary
Oprah urges audience to live life in service of others
CALGARY — Less than a week after her blockbuster, world-exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey was again at the top of her game in Calgary on Tuesday night — warmly inspiring and motivating many to find their purpose and live their best life.
Stepping on stage in a floor-length teal gown and a white cowboy hat, she reached out to the sold-out Saddledome crowd of close to 14,000, relaying the details of her fascinating, difficult life and interspersing the tales with advice about listening to your inner voice, following your instincts and finding value by helping others.
“Living your life in the service of other people, that is how you validate yourself, that is how you find purpose,” Winfrey said, after momentarily stumbling in calling our city Edmonton, then following up by joking that it was so cold in Edmonton, where she spoke Monday, that her brain froze.
“Honour the power within, honour your calling ... and shift the paradigm to service. That is the shift that changes everything.”
Audience members immediately connected to her easy, confident style, cheering, applauding, and shouting out “You rock, Oprah!”
But while her advice was at times borrowed from other big names from Deepak Chopra to Martin Luther King, Winfrey was captivating through her honesty, her ability to laugh at herself and her often uncanny and hilarious impressions of all the people in her life.
She admitted her father once told her she would “never have been born if it wasn’t for that fine poodle skirt your mother was wearing” and the fact he needed to see what was under it.
Winfrey, now a billionaire and philanthropist, is well-known for her difficult early years, growing up in poverty, suffering sexual abuse at the age of nine, and giving birth at 14 to a baby who only survived a few hours.
She spoke frankly about one of her early “aha” moments, watching her mother and aunt hanging clothes on the line as a child and listening to them say she’d better practise because that’s probably what she was destined for, too.
“I remember the little voice inside my head saying, ‘Mmmm ... I don’t think so,’ ” she said, to rousing applause.
Winfrey’s Calgary show Tuesday was the second stop on her Canadian “An Evening with Oprah” tour.
Lifelong fans arrived early and in droves — from collections of women for a girls night out to young couples.
“We’re just so lucky she came to be with us little people here on the Prairies,” laughed Sheila Ulrich, a stay-at-home mom and lifetime fan.
“Oprah just has this way of empowering you, to helping you understand what really matters — for all of us to try and be better people.”
Many fans even managed to bring their husbands along.
“I know, I know, people say Oprah’s a woman’s thing,” laughed Bill Allen, on the arm of his wife of 20 years.
“But anyone, men especially, can benefit from Oprah’s advice, finding your purpose, isn’t that really what it’s all about?”
Winfrey thanked all her fans, remarking she still can’t believe how many people “get showered and all dressed up,” just to come and see her.
Known for more than 25 years of the Oprah Winfrey Show, the former journalist-turned-lifestyles guru, has admittedly struggled with the launch of her new specialty channel OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
But last week’s blockbuster interview with Lance Armstrong, who admitted to Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win each of his seven Tour de France races, saw ratings skyrocket.
Winfrey has since said she believes Armstrong can still “be a hero” if he chooses the right path in helping others, and choosing to be a good person.
Winfrey speaks in Vancouver on Thursday.
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