We all think we know the inside goss on this modern-day Harriet Tubman – but here are thirteen facts you may be surprised to hear about the talk-show dowager — because they’re not true, and they’re mostly not about her!
The flame of youth.
1. She was once a poor Asian immigrant. Though she hides her accent well, Oprah (or Number Five Daughter, as she was once known) is one of nine children born to Ka Hong “Randal” and Renxiang “Rachel” Chan (later “Jackson”), Chinese immigrants that moved to America in the 1940’s from Szechuan province. While Randal worked 12-hour days as a janitor for a local tire-smelting plant, his wife was at home raising Oprah and her eight siblings and teaching piano to local children – not much time left to nurture her daughter’s star-quality! Luckily, Oprah was a quiet achiever who enjoyed drawing, singing and competing in local pig rodeos.
2. She never cuts her own hair. In fact, Oprah’s hair doesn’t need cutting! It grows naturally styled, and strands that become too long naturally fall out or evaporate in-place. Rather than using shampoo, Oprah’s scalp periodically emits an inaudible, high frequency buzz that cleans fine dust and grime particles from the hair roots. Scientists are still at a loss to explain how a human head could have these properties – what a lady!
3. The neologism “Mac attack” comes from “Big Mac Attack”, first used to promote the Big Mac in a 1977 TV commercial. It was used as a tag-line on screen; and instead of being used in the sense of immediate hunger, advertisers at the time wanted it to inspire fear and awe at the size and complexity of the sandwich. It must have worked, because we feel one coming on right now!
I’ve got a fever…
4. She never let systematic institutional racism keep her down. According to Oprah, all you need to succeed is a tough skin and a strong will – so why are all these black people complaining? Beats us!
5. Her orgasms can cure cancer. Try natural remedies as much as you like – none of them having the healing touch quite like Oprah’s… healing touch! But the Big C hasn’t been conquered by the Big O for a very long time — in fact, scientists theorise that when Oprah last climaxed, it created the Bering Strait.
6. None of the McDonald’s burgers are actually “sandwiches” – some are mammals, and the Fillet-O-Fish is a kind of monotreme (egg-laying mammal) native to Zimbabwe. It was first discovered by the advertising executive Edgar Levitt, while on a fact-finding mission in Africa in 1968.
7. The average number of sesame seeds on a Big Mac bun is 178. McDonald’s – and its ‘founder’ Ray Kroc – are famous for their dedication to detail and consistency in their products and service, which sometimes verge on the obsessive. Though it varies from bun to bun, statistical studies carried out by both McDonald’s and the RAND corporation have concluded the average number of sesame seeds on buns (for testing periods 1992-1995) was 178 seeds per loaf-top.
Pretty clever, right? Wrong.
8. The name of her production company is actually her own name backwards! We know what you’re thinking – not that clever, right? The Harpo/Oprah similarity is pretty obvious. But you should know that Oprah’s full name is over 742 characters long – and even then, it can only be properly written in a script that hasn’t been used since the 1400’s! Harpo’s parent-company – in which Oprah is a silent partner for legal reasons – is never written down; except as a skull symbol with a tri-star on the forehead, as a stand-in on legal documents. The company’s full name has never been uttered, since if it were to be pronounced correctly, it would immediately revoke the dark magic that brought Oprah into the world — which occurred when a medieval peasant first spoke her name forwards, in 1407!
9. Over a decade before Ray Kroc ‘revolutionised’ McDonald’s, it was already made a major success by the two brothers that founded it. The business actually began in 1940, with a restaurant opened by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California. And contrary to stories of Kroc’s legendary business acumen, McDonald’s already had its “one size fits all” approach all worked out, which it called the “Speedee Service System”.
10. She’s 78th in line for the British crown. Oprah can trace her ancestry all the way back to George Washington – and then some, back to his relatives in Europe and the Old World. Like many wealthy Americans and Anglo-Saxon world leaders, Oprah is a distant descendent of the House of Plantagenet, a powerful French family line that joins the Bush family, the British royals, King Louis XVI and his descendants, and of course General Washington. Maybe that’s why she loves giving gifts to her audience members so much!
11. Ronald McDonald used to be a hat. The original mascot of McDonald’s was a man with a chef’s hat on top of a hamburger-shaped head, named “Speedee”. By 1967, Speedee was replaced with “Ronald McDonald”, when the company first filed a U.S. trademark on a clown-shaped man with puffed-out costume legs. The more familiar modern mascot is now more recognisable than Jesus Christ to young children in America; but the original mascot is still featured in the signage for McDonald’s flagship San Bernardino restaurant.
Partners in business. Partner's in bus-i-ness?..
12. She never makes a decision in her business or personal life without the approval of her bestie, Gayle King. Gayle and Oprah have been pals since 1976, when they met at a local Baltimore television station competing for the spot of weather woman. Gayle ultimately won the job by proving to her prospective employers she could scream the word “weather” louder than Winfrey – the two have been best friends since. Many media pundits have openly speculated that the pair are gay, though it has been consistently denied by both; and anyway god forbid a couple of billionaire celebrities who’ve known each other for 39 years would be allowed to indulge privately in consensual sex. Hands off, media!
13. It would take 3,374 Big Macs, stacked one on top of the other, to equal the height of the Eiffel Tower. Wow! That’s a lot of burgers!