With the excitement surrounding the debut of Oprah Winfrey's OWN network on Saturday, we flash back to 1985, when Oprah was sporting some serious shoulder pads, riding high off her performance in Steven Spielberg's 'The Color Purple' and about to embark on her 25-year landmark journey with "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Back in 1985, "Donahue" was the show to beat, and Oprah had her own recipe to take on the competition: "I believe that when you believe in yourself and your own possibilities, that the world is open to you," she told ET, addressing naysayers who claimed that it was impossible to both be a successful actress and also host a successful talk show.
"I believe you can do whatever you want to do in your life within your own realm of possibilities," she said. "It is certainly possible for me to be an actress and it's certainly possible for me to have talk show. So I believe that I will do just that, and people telling me that it's never been done before doesn't even matter to me because I say they aren't me. … My greatest gift is my ability to be myself on camera."
Oprah was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance in 'The Color Purple,' but she recalls that no one was allowed to use the "O" word on the set while they were filming.
"It was something we never, ever talked about," she said of the word "Oscar." "I had heard that Steven had said that to someone, so we were very cautious not to mention the word in his presence. Really, literally wouldn't say the word. … Everyone's one concern was just to make the best movie that we could."
The film was nominated for 11 Oscars, but was ultimately shut out, earning no statuettes whatsoever. 'Out of Africa' won Best Picture that year.
Asked if she thought she was a better actress or a better TV host, Oprah responded, "I was born to act, and I always knew that I would be an actress." She recounted how she used to "do little plays and little skits" with the pigs and cows on the farm she grew up on in Mississippi, but also explained why she loved the talk-show format:
"I love it because it lets the rest of the world know that they're not alone," she said, illustrating how the medium provides a forum for individuals who may have believed that no one else shared their problems. "Perhaps maybe it's the beginning of people recognizing that they can have some triumph in their own lives."
Watch ET for more with Oprah and her brand-new OWN network!