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Winfrey later acknowledged her grandmother's influence, saying it was Hattie Mae who had encouraged her to speak in public and "gave me a positive sense of myself".Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV.
She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, and joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, placing second in the nation in dramatic interpretation.
She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication.
Their much-publicized contest was the subject of enormous scrutiny.
TIME magazine wrote: Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey's swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV.