Another milestone for black women as Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African-American to break the top 500 billionaires barrier.
Coming in at 494th, the media mogul joins 65 other women in the exclusive list.
Winfrey’s wealth is widely acknowledged and her status as a billionaire known but at no time was she ever on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index until this week. This feat was achieved when her fortune hit a record $4 billion on Monday thanks to the performance of Weight Watchers International Inc., with which she partnered in 2015. The weight-loss company increased her fortune by $427 million this year.
Winfrey’s other business concerns include her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, her cable network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a partnership with Apple to produce original content and programming for the tech company.
Winfrey beginnings were very humble. She was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. According to her, she was sexually molested while growing up, getting pregnant at age 14. She’s birthed the child but he died in infancy.
Her walk to fame and wealth started when she was sent to Tennessee to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey, who was a barber. While there, she applied for and got a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. The rest, as they say, is history.