Oprah is usually the one asking the questions, but there are a few people who got the opportunity to interview the queen of daytime talk herself. One of those lucky few was Great Day Houston’s Deborah Duncan. I sat down with Deborah to chat about her visits with Oprah and the mark she left on Houston.
KW: "Deborah, you’ve interviewed Oprah about 10 times, and you’ve had the unique chance to put her in the interview seat. What was one of the things that you noticed about her, that really surprised you?"
DD: "I guess it wasn’t really a surprise, because it was how we all came to know her, is that how down to Earth she was. One time I interviewed her, her shoes were kicked off, she was like, 'Girl, I can't stay in those shoes!'"
Even at the top of her career, Oprah told Deborah how her struggles shaped her 25-year run on the airwaves.
DD: "The thing about Oprah is you looked at her and you think yeah, she is a normal-looking lady, she had weight issues, she had other issues, and people gravitated toward that. It was the first time I think people really felt that her girlfriend or their next-door neighbor was up there on TV, and they could go through this journey with her."
During that journey, Oprah enjoyed a few memorable stops here in the Lone Star State—from her battle with the cattle industry, to building homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Oprah, along with her Angel Network and Habitat for Humanity, helped build 50 homes for hurricane survivors on "Angel Lane."
KW: "Oprah had a huge impact on the city of Houston, really helping out after Hurricane Katrina. What do you think she meant to Houstonians?"
DD: "A lot, everybody who took time out of their life to come down here and help someone else, but that’s the kind of impact that Katrina had. When I was interviewing her outside of Angel Lane when the first house was built, she said what she saw after Katrina, the aftermath of Katrina, she says she has big love for Houston... which she thought before was all about steaks and cowboys. She said she got a whole different view of Houston, and thought Houston should be an example for the rest of the country."
KW: "What do you expect out of her last show, and what do you expect to see from the audience as they watch?"
DD: "I think it’s going to be bittersweet -- you’re ending something. TV has changed."