The first time I met Oprah was during my stint as a television photojournalist at ABC7 in Chicago (WLS-TV). My assignment was to attend a taping of Oprah’s television show, but this wasn’t going to be any normal taping. During this show, Oprah was expected to make a “big” announcement. The whole newsroom at ABC7 was abuzz. We had no idea what the announcement was going to be. There were many “what ifs”.
I arrived at Harpo Studios in Chicago. The streets around the studio were blocked off. The parking lot was wrapped in black draping; presumably for the big party. All the media were shuffled into a room; where we watched the show unfold on a large, movie theater-sized screen. It didn’t take too long to realize what the “big” announcement was.
Before too long, Oprah instructed her audience members to open a small box that was given to each of them. People started jumping out of their seats and Oprah started shouting (and jumping as well), “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everyboday gets a car!” What an amazing moment to witness. Everybody in the audience received a new Pontiac G6. An entire parking lot was filled in the back of Harpo Studios with brand new cars. The lives of so many were changed that day. It certainly was a big surprise. We interviewed Oprah after the show. She talked about the ability to change lives and how much joy it brought to her. What an amazing person.
Fast forward several years. A few weeks ago, I received my own big announcement from Oprah. Although it wasn’t in a shiny box, it came in the form of an electronic message. I opened up my email to find a message from one of Harpo’s producers. They had seen Parul and Mirab’s wedding trailer, which was posted online.
They were producing an upcoming show about Indian weddings for “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and they were asking if they could use some of the footage we filmed in their show. My jaw dropped.
We work very hard at each and every wedding; trying to capture some amazing moments and memorable visuals. I’ve assembled an amazingly talented team of artists who love what they do and are dedicated to the craft. For me, this was an epiphany of sorts. We receive a lot of emails, letters, and phone calls; all praising the work we do…some from complete strangers; others from family members of the couples we film. It is evident. The work we do touches so many lives.
I’ve always been a huge fan of India and Indian weddings. So, this show will definitely not be missed on my TV. The producers at Harpo encouraged me to tell family and friends about the upcoming show.
So, please watch “Oprah’s Next Chapter” this Sunday at 8 PM Central on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) when I’ll be jumping up and down for joy.
Tweet from Oprah to me during the show
UPDATE: The show aired and it was AMAZING!!! Watching Oprah walk through the streets of Mumbai, India was an eye-opening experience, but seeing our wedding footage was definitely a highlight of the show. Thank you, Oprah, for an awesome adventure!!!