Oprah is exactly the same off camera as on. Exactly. At dinner, she is the same. (I can't believe I've gone out to dinner with Oprah. That's just craziness.) I got to know her personally through the wonderful Quincy Jones back in about 1995. We were both friends of his and the night we met, Q (haha) took us out to see Stomp at a theatre in LA and then to an Italian restaurant. We were staying at the same hotel (she on the top floor, of course, me not).
Sharing a car back to our hotel after dinner, just the two of us, talking about girl stuff, talking about boys, talking about work, talking about running (she was training for a half marathon at the time), she is exactly the same. It was a long drive, so we talked a lot. I don't remember most of it. Probably because I wasn't awestruck so I wasn't trying to remember it -- because she's just so normal. And I don't know her well -- don't get me wrong. But I'd already been on her show a couple of times by then.
The first time I went on was promoting the book "For Real," the next time for Jane magazine and another book called "Beyond Beauty: Girls Speak Out On Looks, Style and Stereotypes." (Somehow I am like the only person the Oprah Effect didn't work for--neither book sold much.)
I've been on a bunch of talk shows over the years and I've never had the experience, except for my few times sitting on the chair opposite Oprah, of not knowing when the cameras are on or off because she is EXACTLY the same when she is talking to you before and after the cameras are rolling. She also ran around backstage in her bathrobe without hair and makeup, totally not caring, and let me into her dressing room so her hair person could fix my hair (he did an awesome job).
I would say that in her voicemails she is also exactly the same except that my fantastically efficient assistant Karen deleted the one voicemail Oprah left me and just told me, among a list of other people, that Oprah had called. ("You deleted a voicemail from OPRAH without me hearing it?" I still can hardly believe it. I would have taped it and saved it for years -- but I'm a saver.) I love Oprah. I love what she has done for the world. I love that she is a girls' girl.
Now watch the end of my second Oprah appearance below. I had just trashed the Spice Girls in Sassy, so it was a little awkward.