On Sunday, The New York Times pointed readers to Robyn Okrant, a 35 year old writer, performer and artist living in Chicago. She’s living Oprah for a year. What does that mean exactly? She’s spending a year following the advice Oprah dishes out on her television show, in O magazine, on the airwaves and website. Of course, she’s blogging about the experience. The experiment is reminiscent of the Julie/Julia Project so it’s likely she has a book deal coming her way:
But Ms. Okrant says she won’t cash a check from any deal that materializes before the end of year, so as not to skew her year as everywoman with an infusion of money.After all, it requires cashola to be an Oprah devotee. She estimates she has spent over $2,000 on her Living Oprah project:
There’s almost nothing Ms. Okrant doesn’t consult Oprah about. If she has a fight with her husband, she looks up “conflict management” on the Oprah Web site. When she needs to cover the gray in her now glossy curls, she uses the hair dye that was recommended in the August 2008 issue of Ms. Winfrey’s magazine.The Guardian also noted how Okrant is putting Oprah’s lifestyle tips to the ultimate test:
A representative for Ms. Winfrey’s company, Harpo Inc., said Ms. Okrant “certainly takes brand dedication to new heights.”
Ms. Okrant says she embarked on the project because she saw many women believing that every word of Ms. Winfrey’s was gospel. She hoped to learn why her words carried such weight, even when they were contradictory at times. In the show’s celebrated “Favorite Things” episodes, the audience is showered with stainless steel refrigerators and flat screen television sets. Yet, against these displays of materialism, Ms. Winfrey also freely dispenses spiritual advice.
“I am not attempting to prove Oprah wrong or right but I am trying to encourage women, highly susceptible to the media’s influence, to question the sources,” says Okrant, who posts her thoughts at livingoprah.com.Money well spent? What will be the return on investment? I would love your thoughts on if it pays to channel Oprah -- feel free to comment over at Queercents.
Celebrities don’t come more influential than Oprah. Sales of whatever she blesses with her approval soar, from the novels of Toni Morrison to Blue Planet DVDs. Unfortunately she has expensive tastes (currently she is advocating a $1,500 biophysical and an $850 grill) and Okrant is already $2,000 poorer.