12/15/2006

THE ROAD TO OPRAH

As a child, I loved cars like other girls loved dolls. So when I learned to drive, I couldn’t drive anything less than a sports car. My first car was a Camaro, which I raced for a few months and then sold for a more competitive car, a 1979 Mustang Cobra. All right, it’s not a Chevy, but for the time it was a great car.  My passion for cars and racing mixed with working on the machines. Tearing down brake calipers in my spare time really helped to put me in a unique niche market. No one could have ever have realized that I would be able to merge by two passions. Now let’s keep it clean!

The other passion was to be an actress. My father tried to discourage me as much as possible. Like many other children, I wanted to be on television. So I auditioned for plays, took dance classes (I was never really good at that) and acting classes that all led to a sales position on the phones in the auto industry. It was like a sitcom; life is never what we expect.

It all started when a friend of mine asked me to be a guest on a PBS station to talk about brakes and safety. How could I say no? The acting bug returned. From there, local television and radio stations started to contact me for quotes. Then one day, while I was at the Detroit Auto Show, looking at the new models, the phone call came that forced a tremendous change in my life. It was from a producer from Oprah Winfrey! I’d never seen the show, but I knew that this was big. At first I thought it was one of my smart-ass friends playing a joke on me, but it was the real thing. So off I went to tape a segment to air on Oprah. The producer was so nice, but he’d never give me his business card, no matter how hard an attempt I’d try to make the exchange.

After a long day taping in sub-zero temperatures, I was asked to come back to Chicago as a live guest on the show. This was my chance to get my 5 minutes in the sun.

The big day arrived and going to Harpo (that’s Oprah backwards for the non-Oprah fans) Studios, I had no clue that it was easier to get to President Bush. The security procedures were intense and all cell phones, cameras, and anything electronic had to be left in a lock-box.

The excitement was building and then the introduction -- I was so calm, but it was the turning point that changed my career.

Everyone still asks me what she’s like. All I can say is, Oprah is exactly what you see on television. She’s an impressive person in every way.

Since that day, I’ve been on the show and on tour for the “Live Your Best Life Tour.” Every time I see her take the stage, she never fails to inspire, motivate and empower men and women, alike.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities, friends, family and associates that have led me to meet my dreams. The road never ends, so once again I’ll start my engines and rev the motor and step on the gas. Being a “car gal” is great. 

 

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