It’s really amazing how you never know what your day can hold, and how different one day can be from the next. Just Monday, I was in Austin, TX at my apartment unpacking from my long weekend at home. And by Wednesday, my life had literally changed a little (no melodrama intended).
It all started when my sister was somehow able to score tickets to The Oprah Show for Wednesdy, Sept. 8 last Tuesday and told me while I was in class (ironically, my TV producing class). She had been talking about entering her name into the lottery-like draw on Oprah.com for a while, but I would just say “yeah, yeah” and brush it off because I couldn’t imagine us ever getting the tickets. So when we did I literally couldn’t contain myself when I found out. Me?! Going to see OPRAH?! During her FINAL season?! This was literally a dream come true! Little did I know how much so…We booked our tickets promptly and off to Chi-town we went!
The morning of the show, my sister and I dressed up in bright red and green dresses (they had told us to dress in bright colors because they look better on camera) and we headed to Harpo Studios. The line was already way out the door even though we got there early. It was so surreal just being there – we really couldn’t believe we were going to be seeing Oprah soon! They passed us through security and took our phones and cameras and had everyone wait in one room upstairs. We had to sign confidentiality agreements saying that we wouldn’t divulge any info on the show we were there for. It was a waiting game from there for about 90 minutes or so.
Soon, they started calling groups of people and letting them into the studio. My sister and I were just hoping that maybe our names would get called because we figured these people were getting seated first in the front. Alas, our names never got called but we all had numbers on our forms and they started calling us according to the numbers and we were somewhere in the middle. When we get into the studio – the first thing that I realized was how small the studio really is. I think there was about 400 people in the audience but maybe because of the way the studio is set up in a semi-circle, everyone was distributed evenly and it looked a lot smaller.
They had told us that we could sit anywhere there wasn’t a blue card and when we got in there, we realized most of the seats with blue cards on them were in the front. Of course. So obviously most of the middle section and bottom section seats were already taken and a producer had my sister and I sit LITERALLY in the 2 corner seats on the very top row. The seats on stage were facing center, but the producer said that Oprah would be reading off the teleprompter that was sort of below us so we’d get to see her well. We weren’t THRILLED with our seats, but once we realized how close we still were to her (probably like 50-60 ft), we were just psyched that we were going to be seeing Oprah soon!
Then out of nowhere, a producer came up to us and asked us if it was just my sister and I in our party. When we said it was, she told us to follow her – and she took us down to the bottom section!!! Way to go Khyati for the dress choices! We were now seated on the opposite side of the room in the left section and she even had these other ladies move so we could sit there. I guess dressing like Christmas really paid off! Then, even though she had had us file into that row, she told us to move to the aisle seats. Now, I was literally touching the aisle and my sister was next to me. There were 2 walkways that Oprah could have possibly come out of and amazingly, we were told she’d be coming out from the walkway NEXT TO ME!!! To top it off, we were literally about 10 feet away where Oprah would be sitting!
Before the show started, the Audience Team came out and started playing music and pumping people up. They asked us questions and handed out shirts and THEN it was time for Oprah! My sister and I started freaking out because we realized that we were going to be able to touch Oprah and shake her hand! Of course, this entire time my mind started freaking out into thinking that I had to go to the bathroom and I was positive at some point, I was going to pee on myself! Ugh!
Then we heard her – OPRAH WAS COMING!! She came out and shook people’s hands in the top section and I just began to grab for her. My eyes were buggin’, my arms were literally flailing and I was going INSANE. I was absolutely determined – I was not leaving without some contact!!! She finally looked at me and came over and grabbed my hand and them my sister’s hand and then looked into my face and said “How are you?” My mouth fell open and I mustered something like “…I’m amazing!!” The lady in front of me was freaking out even more and she couldn’t even stand up. She was almost in the fetal position stamping her feet up and down and Oprah just paused by us to try and calm her down. (At this point, I had clutched onto her arm like the nut I am…) She made her way to the stage, and shot the show. Unreal that we watched a live taping! But the entire time, all my sister and I could think was – “WE SHOOK HANDS WITH OPRAH!!!” We could have left then and our lives would have been 100x more amazing still. But no buddy, nothing had happened yet!
So after the show, Oprah was so sweet and genuine. She thanked everyone in the audience for coming saying she was thankful that we had thought enough of her to put our lives on hold to see her because she said she understood that “everyone was as busy as her”. She said she acknowledged that we had all booked babysitters, missed work, and rescheduled our lives to be at the show and she was truly appreciative of it. You could really see how sincere she was, and I was touched by her humbleness.
After that, she took questions and comments from the audience and I had decided that I was going to talk to her if it was the last thing I did. Ironically, that morning I had just had a feeling that something really great was going to happen. You know when you just have that undeniable FEELING? That’s what I had and I couldn’t really explain it and it sounds superbly cheesy but it’s true. This was my one opportunity and it was never going to come again – I HAD to talk to her!
She graciously answered a few more questions and then told the audience she would love to answer more but had to get going. She had to pass by me again so I started grasping for her again even though she was out of reach and on the other side of the aisle. Eventually she came over and I decided to ask her for a hug. She warmly gave me a hug and tried to leave again when I asked her to give my sister a hug too. She did, and tried to leave AGAIN when I grabbed her hands, looked into her eyes and said, “OPRAH, my friends call me FOPRAH!” She thought it was so funny and told a producer something about “..those 2 girls.” Before we knew it, my sister and I were being escorted backstage by the producers for God knows what! We had no idea…
We went backstage and were shortly joined by just one other party: a party of 4 women. One of the women had told Oprah that she felt the way about her that Oprah felt about Paul McCartney and she loved her immensely. They had been sitting towards the top so they were really fortunate to get called down and to the back! We chit chatted with them until Oprah came backstage herself!!
The 4 women chatted with her for a few minutes and they got a professional picture taken with her. Then it was OUR turn! AHH!!! Oprah warmly embraced both my sister and me and we took a couple of pictures with her too. Then I grabbed her hands (again – b/c apparently I love to hold people’s hands) and started on my spiel about my life story and how she was my idol and I want to do what she is doing. I explained the “Foprah” thing and she told me my name (the real one) was lovely(!) I asked her for advice and she genuinely gave me real advice on how to make it as a broadcaster. She told me importantly never to get frustrated and to keep faith. She also told me that she had picked me out of the audience that day and just like that, things could keep happening to me as long as I was willing for them to and allowed for them to.
Then she spoke with my sister for a minute and gave us both hugs again. I told her that if she ever had anything open to do, I would drop everything in my life and come work for her. She told me that she “wouldn’t forget Foprah” and she’d remember that. Ahh!!! And the last thing she said to me was “Foprah – I won’t forget!”
Was that real?? Did that just really happen?? My sister and I kept joking that our lives were complete now that we had met Oprah and when my sister told Oprah that, she graciously told her it wasn’t, but that more things were to come for her. But seriously, it is way more complete than it was a few days ago…