When you are considered the richest black woman in the world, it comes as no surprise that there are thousands of people who would like to know how you achieved such an impressive feat. Oprah Winfrey’s net worth has been the subject of interest for decades since she grew a media empire from the ashes into an international business.
In this article, we have decided to examine how Oprah Winfrey achieved a net worth of just under $3 billion at an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion.
Scroll below to go deep into her journey from a young woman who was a victim of child and sexual abuse to being a globally recognized billionaire loved by many.
How Oprah Winfrey Achieved Her Net Worth
Before Oprah Winfrey became the darling of everyone in the media industry, the subject of fun memes on the internet, and a woman with a net worth of $2.6 billion, she was a poor young woman, who grew up on her grandmother’s farm in Mississippi until she was six years old before she relocated to her mother’s house in Milwaukee.
At Milwaukee, Oprah suffered multiple child and sexual abuses from relatives and was forced to move in with her father as a teenager where she lived under his tough rules. Simply put, she had a very difficult beginning but she rose over it and transformed herself into the most successful television personality of all time.
Her career in television started in the 1970s when she joined ELAC-TV at the age of 19. She spent a few years with the station before she transferred to WJZ-TV in 1976 and worked as a news co-anchor and reporter.
At WJZ-TV, Oprah struggled to maintain the principles necessary for a career as a news anchor and reporter, such as objectivity and rather than giving up on a career in media, she instead pivoted to a career in talk shows, and in 1978, she joined the morning talk show, People Are Talking, which is now known as the infamous show where the Oprah brand was launched.
Within a short time on People are Talking, her lack of objectivity that was a weakness as a news anchor became a strength on the show and her ability to improvise, empathize and connect with her audience quickly turned the show into one of the most followed shows in the region, beating out a nationally syndicated talk show hosted by Phil Donahue.
In the 1980s, Oprah Winfrey’s meteoric rise in the world of media continued and so would her net worth as she secured a lucrative contract to host a 30-minute morning talk show on WLS-TV. The show, AM Chicago began airing in January 1984 and went from being the least rated morning show in the region to the top talk show in Chicago within a year under Oprah.
Having proven that her ability to attract and connect with an audience wasn’t a fluke, she began getting national syndication offers and two years after she joined AM Chicago, she licensed her show for a national broadcast network in 1986 and it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Aside from the name change, it also went from 30 minutes to 1 hour and as part of the deal, Winfrey was earning 25% of the show’s total gross. As a result of the deal and the incredible success of the show, she became a millionaire, with her yearly income climbing as much as $30 million before the end of the decade, giving Oprah Winfrey her first major step on the road to a net worth of $2.6 billion.
Aside from her work as a television host, she also worked as an actress and starred in films like The Color Purple, for which she earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In the late 80s, she also established her own TV production company, Harpo, Inc. which expanded into film and entertainment, a move that made her the first black person to own a major studio.
When the 90s arrive, Oprah Winfrey had solidified herself as a media mogul and by 1995, she had amassed a net worth of $340 million. She continued her expansion in the world of media by founding Oxygen Media, her magazine – O, The Oprah Magazine, and Book Club. At the turn of the century, Oprah’s net worth had grown over a billion.
Her investments into various media and entertainment productions continued, such as producing a very successful musical version of The Color Purple, her website, Oprah.com and launching a 24-hour channel, Oprah & Friends. She also launched her network, Oprah Winfrey Network, which is known for producing multiple TV shows and films.
Aside from her investments in media, which is the primary source of her net worth, Oprah Winfrey has also invested in the company, Weight Watchers International and the restaurant chain, True Food Kitchen.