Stylist is running its first ever feminist advent calendar in 2018, with a remarkable woman revealing who her feminist icon is every day until 25 December. Here, Angellica Bell reveals why Oprah Winfrey is her ultimate feminist icon.
There are so many amazing women in the world right now paving the way for us in different ways that it’s difficult to single out one, but the person who immediately comes to mind is Oprah Winfrey.
I remember as a child watching her on television and being awestruck at how confident, eloquent and successful she was. The Oprah Winfrey Show was always on and for a young girl who was unsure of what the future would hold, it was reassuring to be able to watch someone who looked like me doing so well.
Oprah had a calmness about her and an incredible power of empathy that was fascinating to watch. She also had the Midas touch – any book she talked about became a bestseller, and she had celebrities queuing to be interviewed by her. Not only that, but she was always so generous with her audience – I’ll never forget the show where she gave each person a car!
Although her showbiz, glamorous side was well documented, it wasn’t her wealth or fame that connected with me. It was only as I got older and took the time to find out more about Oprah that I began to realise her life wasn’t always an easy ride and in fact, everything she has achieved has been against all odds.
The fact that she has been so open about her past, growing up in poverty, being abused and having a long inner battle with self-esteem made her so accessible and real to people, including myself.
Then earlier this year, I had the chance to interview Oprah when I guest presented The One Show. It’s not every day that you get up close and personal with someone who, at an impressionable time of life, influenced your young psyche. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever meet her, so the days leading up to the interview were quite surreal.
I needn’t have worried as she was so down to earth, and we talked about normal stuff like the difficulties of walking in heels and getting your hair done when we met in the green room. After the show, I plucked up the courage to ask her for a photo, something I don’t always do, and I’ll never forget her asking me, ‘Is this a moment for you?’ – I guess she could see it in my face.
I held up the camera, told her where to look and took a picture. ‘That’s the shot!’ she said. She was so right.
philosophy are the official partner of Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards 2018 and, for every day in December, Stylist is asking a remarkable woman to tell us who her feminist icon is, and why. You can see more inspiring and remarkable women here.
The Martin Lewis Money Show continues on Mondays on ITV at 8pm. Angellica Bell’s new cookbook Fantastic Eats! & How to Cook Them is out on pre-order and in shops from March 2019.
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