I met Oprah!!! And I lost it…

September 15th, 2010 at 3:40 pm by under FOX10 News, Lenise Ligon - Daily Dot Com, Sarah Wall - Monday Moms, Uncategorized

I mean I lost it.

So, as many of you know, I attended a taping of The Oprah Show in Chicago.

No, it wasn’t that show—the show where the audience members got a surprise trip to Australia.  No, the show I attended was taped September 8, 2010.  But I ended up with a little surprise, too.

I was so excited when I got the email about the tickets.  Right away I called my mother and sister and told them, “We’re going to see Oprah for her Farewell Season!”

We only had about two weeks to book our flights and hotel.  My mother and sister were traveling from Detroit, and I was flying out of Pensacola.  I really didn’t think we would all make it.

But actually, we found flights at a reasonable price and arrived in Chicago the night before the taping.  That entire night I had butterflies in my tummy.  I was just so anxious.  I was hours away from being in the presence of a woman that I have admired and respected for so many years.

According to our tickets we had to be at Harpo Studios by 11:00 a.m.

We took a taxi and as hyper-excited as I was, I had the nerve to stop by my favorite coffee shop and get a Grande Soy Caramel Macchiato.  Exactly

Needless to say, when we pulled up in front of Harpo Studios, my heart was about to jump out of my chest.

There was a long line of people waiting to get inside.  Over 300 people were there.

It was such a good vibe.  Everyone was just so happy to be there, from the staff to the studio audience; everyone was sharing their favorite Oprah stories and saying how much the show would be missed.

No cameras were allowed inside.  In fact, I had to check my entire purse until after the taping.

We were called into the studio and with each step I took, the pounding in my chest grew louder.  We were escorted to our seats, and I thought I was going to pass out.

We had absolutely amazing seats.

We were seated on the right side of the floor, and in the third row!

So when Oprah came out, she walked right past ME!!!.

I remember how quiet it was right before she came out.  Up until that point, the place was vibrating with music, laughter, and a bit of hysteria from the people who got the front row seats.

But when they announced that Oprah was making her way into the studio, a silence fell over the room.

With just one footstep into the room, there was an eruption of applause.

She made her way to the stage and walked right by my seat.  See, I was sitting on the end of the row.

I remember seeing her shaking everyone’s hand, and then I remember feeling this ball of emotion.  It started in my gut then worked up to my throat.

When she reached my seat and extended her hand to me, I lost it.  I completely lost my cool and, to be honest, that’s where it all becomes a blur.

I must have blacked out, because I don’t really remember much.  My mother tells me I dropped down into my seat, started crying hysterically, and fanning myself.

She reached over to tell me to get up, because apparently at that point Oprah was trying to give me a hug.  I just kept shaking and crying, so eventually Oprah continued  toward the stage.

“Lenise, Lenise, you have to calm down…just breathe,” my mother told me.  It registered.

When Oprah got to the stage, she thanked us all for being there.  Then, she proceeded to tell us a story about how she just loved the Mary Tyler Moore Show when she was a teenager.

Oprah said that she watched the show religiously.  She said one day, she finally met her heroine and, “went right into the ugly cry, snot coming out of the nose and all.”

That’s when she turned to me and said, “I guess I’m your Mary Tyler Moore.”

If only she knew.  I have been watching Oprah since high school, admiring her interviewing skills, compassion, and humility.  Maybe she did know.

When she reached out to me, I’ve never been so taken…even now I am getting tears in my eyes just replaying the image in my mind.

I couldn’t handle all the emotions.  Thank goodness my mother and sister were there to help me keep my feet on the ground, because I was out of my skin with joy.

Once everyone was calm and in their seats, we began taping the segment.  The topic of the show was Modern Families, so appropriately they had the cast of “Modern Family” as the guests: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, and Ty Burrell.

Time flew.  Before I knew it, Oprah was saying thank you to the cast members and asking the studio audience if they enjoyed the show.

She took a lot questions from the audience.  One woman asked if she ever felt like giving up in her career…someone else asked what would happen to Harpo Studios…and another person wanted to know her middle name.

She said, she’s never felt like giving up because she has always followed her true calling, which was to be a teacher.  Regarding Harpo Studios she said it would still remain a production house and her middle name is Gail.  I know quite the coincidence considering her best friend is also named Gayle, just spelled differently.

But she really opened up when one woman thanked Oprah for the profound impact that she’s had on American culture and congratulated her on winning the Kennedy Center Honor.

Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, and Bill T. Jones will be this year’s recipients.

Oprah got really smitten when she talked about sitting next to Paul McCartney—a man she says, she always thought she would marry.

It was cute, seeing her so awestruck, especially since I was so awestricken by her.

And she must have felt my thoughts because that’s when she turned to me and asked, “Have you calmed down yet?”  I nodded my head and said I was just trying to breathe like my mother told me.


I almost lost it again.  I just kept telling myself you’re wearing 5 inch heels; you do not want to fall.

I couldn’t speak.  It was completely surreal!

I was on stage with OPRAH!!!  She told me I looked nice and that she liked the orange sweater I was wearing—that it was a good color for me.  She said, you smell good, too… and my response to all of that …”Oh I showered.”  Oh. My. Goodness.

I finally meet the one person I have regarded with such admiration and all I could say was “I showered.”    She was really sweet though and very kind; she just hugged my waist and said, “Here let’s take a picture.”   My mother later told me I was smiling so hard that my cheeks were up to my eyes and that she didn’t think I could see.  She told me that she knew I really, really liked Oprah but she didn’t think I would cry.

My picture with Oprah came in the mail yesterday.  Looking at it brings back such a rush of happiness.

I wanted to include it in this blog but because of copyright laws, I am not allowed.

The picture is framed and will be sitting on my desk to remind me of Oprah’s advice that day:  “We are all called here by a greater energy force; for me that energy force is God.  We all have a purpose; find yours and be the best.”

September 8, 2010.  Honestly, it’s a day I’ll never forget.

Who will fill that seat now?  That’s the question circulating the web.  But if you ask me, no one can replace Oprah.   She’s truly one of a kind.

The episode airs September 29th.  Be sure to tune in, and let me know if you see me in the audience.

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14 Responses to “I met Oprah!!! And I lost it…”

  1. Renee Dials says:

    I’m pretty sure I would have lost it too. Oprah is my absolute favorite personality. It’s not because she is famous or rich. There are so many other things I feel are real about her, things that I can relate to personally.

    I saw the picture on your desk, and it’s beautiful. Your face is glowing with happiness. I really like the pose with you and Oprah. You’re standing and she’s sitting with her arm around you, and her head nestled on you side. It looks like the kind of hug a mother would give her daughter. I doubt there are any more like that floating around.

    I’ll be looking for you on the show on the 29th.

  2. Kelly Barber says:

    “Oh, I showered” That is classic. You are too cute Lenise. I’ll have to come down there and check out this photo of you and Oprah. Can’t wait to see the show!

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Lenise! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing it with all of us. I felt like I was there, watching you! LOL!

    Oprah is inspiring, compassionate, intelligent, witty, beautiful and REAL. Her magnetic spirit transcends race, gender and generation. She has helped to empower millions of people across America, and other countries, alike. I am very proud to have been part of that and I can see, from your near-fainting spell, (LOL) you are, as well.

    How AWESOME for you! I’m *JEALOUS* :)


  4. Dani Dials says:

    Great blog Lenise! :) I’m so happy & excited for you!! And the picture is priceless! :) Congratulations!!!!!

  5. Lenise, this story made me laugh and cry— at work, of course, so everyone is walking by wondering what I’m doing… I am so happy that you were able to meet Oprah, and even be called on stage by her. I’m sure that was a dream come true. I will make sure I DVR the episode. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Cathy Dickey says:

    I love this..Anyone would have been awestruck..And this is a story for your grandchildren..because girl you mother and sister are never going to stop teasing you about it..Love watching you and I am sure if OPRAH ever comes to Mobile she will realize your a celebrity too…oh and by the way you look so much like your mom..thanks for sharing i am still laughing..

  7. Becca Walden says:

    LOVED reading this story, Lenise! You made me feel like I was right there beside you. I have always loved Oprah as well. What an exciting experience you will be able to tell about for years & years. I can’t even imagine a day when Oprah is not a household name anymore. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Michelle Cole says:

    I met Oprah many years ago when I was a teenager working at the retailer Carson Pirie Scott in Urbana, Illinois. It was the mid-eighties and she was just beginning her huge climb in the television industry. She traveled the 2 hours from Chicago to speak at a women’s conference being held at Jumer’s Castle Lodge – a hotel attached to the mall. Before her presentation, she came into the store to do a little shopping. I was working in the junior department and noticed a well-dressed lady in cosmetics looking like she may need assistance, but nobody was in the department. I offered to get someone for her, but she took my hand, touched my face and said, “You seem to know what to do with make-up…you’ll do just fine. If you snooze you loose!” She was so nice and down to earth. I didn’t fawn all over her; i treated her as a normal person. Needless to say, poeple started to see who I was waiting on and a crowd of employees and customers lined both sides of the store trying not to be too obvious…yeah, right! Anyway, the store manager come over and asked if she could help with her purchases and she said, “Nope, Michelle’s got it all handled for me.” The customary picture was taken and put up on the wall for all to see as they entered the store. Now that I am older and have been able to see all that she has done over the years, if I were to meet her today…I would probably bee VERY star struck myself! Glad you got to live your dream!

  9. Carol says:

    I can see it was truly a rewarding experience. We all have a person who for some reason meeting them in person just racks our mind. Oprah is truly someone many will remember. The fact that you got tickets was amazing enough and then out of 300 people she connected with you, and called only you up to take a picture with her, shows that along your way, you are one that is remembered by many also. We should all remember we may not know when we have touched someone and made their day. Many more blessings and days of joy to you.

  10. Michelle Cole says:

    Saw an article on the Huffington Post today that made me think of you…”The 11 Best Faces of Oprah’s Last Season”! Since your episode hasn’t aired yet you weren’t on it…but, soemthing tells me you will be in the next round of photos! LOL

  11. Nick Pride says:

    Thanks Lenise for sharing your story. I’m going to Oprah’s taping Oct. 8th by myself. I can’t believe I got a ticket, and to top it off I got a job offer the same day! What are the odds of that!

  12. Jillian says:

    I loved reading your blog! Thanks for sharing. And the “I showered” comment is priceless. At least you were able to get words out, I probably would have just stood there laughing and smiling. I wish I could see the picture too!!!

  13. sandy smith says:

    LOVE this !
    Love OPRAH better than a fat kid loves cake…because no matter what, she has always remained REAL !
    Gracious, sophisticated, massive dignity, but REAL !
    Classy LADY !
    I’ve enjoyed watching you grow into that kind of LADY as well, Lenise.
    Thank You !

  14. Christi Gran says:

    The subsequent time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to learn, but I really thought youd have one thing fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might repair if you happen to werent too busy searching for attention.

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