Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You and you and me and Oprah are going to AUSTRALIA!!!

Oh my life.  It has been no secret that I have been an Oprah fan since birth...well, ok not birth but since I can remember. Her first show aired nationally on Sept. 13, 1986 but because I grew up close to Chicago my mom was watching her when she aired just in Chicago.  So I honestly cannot recall not having her on my television.  History is repeating because each one of my boys ( that can speak) could tell you who Oprah was. They not only see her face on the television, but they also see me reading O magazine.
 I'm  "O"bsessed you could say.  I have never been secretive about it either.  Anyone knows that if you are friends with me you also take along my Oprah baggage.
Well I was pretty sad to see that this was her last season.  Yes, its been 25 years, and yes, she is 56 years old, but Betty White is close to 90 and I don't see her quitting her day job. But  I was just grieving in my OWN (get it Oprah Winfrey Network) way ahh Oprah humor never gets old.

So I was cruising her website just like any other day and noticed a icon asking-
Are you Oprah's Ultimate Fan?  Well, yes, yes I am. so I filled out the form which asked 3 or 4 questions defending my fanhood.   I didn't put a lot of thought into it, I was just honest.

You can say whatever you want about her, but in my opinion she is a world changer, humorous and an all around good egg.
Not shortly after I filled out the form I was called by an Oprah staff member who asked me to elaborate on my answers...nooooo problem. After  I expatiated on Oprah for around 45 minutes, she said they would be in touch, but she did ask me to send her my photo....which I thought was interesting.
I didn't hear anything for a few days and then I received an email asking if I would want to be an audience member. I was at work, busy, and just overlooked it.  I had been to an Oprah show before and it was great, but I was just caught up in life and thought, how can I take a day off,  arrange pickups and drop offs of the boys etc.?  That evening I received a call around 9 pm from another Oprah rep. This time she asked me why I didn't respond and she would really like me to go to the Sept. 9 taping.
Hold up.  Oprah, wants ME to be at the taping? Well ok then!  I then called my best friend who is also supports my Oprah fetish and she said that " I made her life".
So off to Chicago we went.  It only took me about 2 hours to get there and it was such a pleasant drive, actually listening to my music...not kids bop, or backyardigans.
I arrived and pulled up to the studio, there was some guy on the corner that said
 "you goin to the Oprah, show?"
"Why, yes, yes I am."
" I'll park your car for $12"
"  You're so nice, Ok" I then threw my stelletos on the pavement, put them on, grabbed my purse and made a bee line to Oprah-ville."

*Looking back, this was probably not one of my smartest moments, thankfully the guy was legit and my car was retrieved. Only after he told me I looked like Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side....

I did notice however, that this was different. I felt an excitement that wasn't there before. After going through a metal detector and having our purses searched they allowed us access to the holding room. I did find it interesting, that they confiscated my September issue of O magazine...but I could live without it for a few hours.  I told my bff that my only goal was to have eye contact with her.
When we got into the studio they explained when they posted the question on the website that received over 20,000 emails in the first day! They narrowed it down to 100 or so and let Oprah read them. She had the ultimate say on who would attend her season premier.
She likes me, she REALLY likes me! I had NO idea that the show I was attending was going to be THE show.
The excitement in the studio that day was thick. While waiting to enter the studio several people broke into a chant.." We love Oprah, We love Oprah" Ok.  as do I, but I also have a quiet dignity...
Once in the studio we were chosen to sit in the front row with the knowledge that in the second half we would need to move. OK by me.  Oprah is exactly the same on television as she is in person, she is authentic. My friend can also be seen mouthing..."she's gorgeous" in the first 2 min. of the show.

Fast forward to the exclamation YOU. Are going with ME (Oprah) to AUSTRALIA!!!! You, and you and you and you.
At this point I went into to a Hypovolaemic Oprah-shock. Screaming. Jumping. Hugging.  I then was overwhelmed with a few thoughts.
1. when? Now?
2. Oh crap. Now my husband is going to be a little peeved that I didn't take him.
3. I don't have a passport.
4. 10 days total? Should I leave the boys that long?
5. Snap out of it, your going to be with Oprah, and Travolta on the other side of the world!
6. How am I going to keep this a secret for 5 days?
7. Will Hugh Jackman be there?

Next thing I know, four of us are being escorted to the stage to have a photo with Oprah wearing Australian hats.  Then taken to the other side of stage where Oprah is standing to take another photo!
I'm literally eye level * goal reached * with her.  I said " Thank you so much, but honestly, you could have taken me to downtown Chicago and as long as I was with you, I would have been happy" 
She then grabbed my hand and laughed. I said," I have never even been out of the country" She said, Really? I'm so happy we are going to Australia then!
At that moment. My life value, in my humble opinion increased tenfold. It was the 5th happiest day of my life
1. Marrying Don.
2. Birth of son #1.
2. Birth of son #2
3. Birth of son #3
4. Birth of son #4
5. Talking to Oprah.

Oprah brings out the best in humanity. She is a self-made icon and she did it by being generous to others.  I have shared this with my friends, family and facebook friends and have felt nothing but overwhelming support and excitement.
As we left the studio after filling out tons of paperwork, there was a new friendship among us. We quietly told each other...see you in December as we crossed the street. I look forward to documenting my  amazing journey in December.


  1. Have your pics with O been posted anywhere?

  2. Great post! It's (almost.. okay, not really) just like being there! So thrilled for you. Can't wait to follow along.

  3. LOVED THIS NOELLE! It captures the event PERFECTLY! And I know why you were chosen (besides the fact that you are her number one fan, you deserve it and the list goes on and on......) You are such a great writer!

  4. Dear Noelle: I predict that there will be a building with your name on it on the Notre Dame campus! Not grafitti !!!, actually carved in stone and surrounded with shamrocks... maybe in your case surrounded with sunflowers. I think that Oprah will come to ND to visit you. Yep, it's gonna happen.

  5. Hi Noelle, I am from NW Indiana, but now live in Australia. I've been here fifteen years. If you've never been here before, you are about to fall in love! Congratulations on your being a participant in the big trip! So dang exciting. I am in the lottery for a ticket at the O-House in Sydney for 13 October.... fingers crossed. I look forward to hearing about your adventure Down Under! All the best. Cheers, Barb Goodrich

  6. Hi Noelle, I am along with Alex the creators of Oprah House in Australia facebook page! Congrats on your BIG win getting the tickets to come to our fantastic country!We look forward to seeing you. Please joing us on our Facebook page and say G'Day to all Aussies! - Best Toney Fitzgerald! :-)

  7. This was one of the best days of my life too! I love your writing style! Allison (My ultimate fan bff) and I have always talked about starting a blog, but I just haven't found the time to start. You have totally inspired me to really look into it! I'll see you in LA!