The Power of New Beginnings: Oprah and The Duchess of York
The Oprah team and I were having our usual loud, fun dinner when their Blackberries started buzzing. Something was going on. They’re sending emails, running outside to get better reception. Crazy. “What’s going on?” We can’t tell you. “Tell me.” We can’t. “Come on.” No. “I’m your friend.” Heidi, we are NOT going to tell you.
They didn’t. Wednesday morning it all became clear.
First, news of the “scandal” broke: Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, was caught on tape by a British tabloid seemingly offering to sell access to her ex, Prince Andrew.
Next, I got an email from Sterling Publishing about their new children’s book author: The Duchess of York. Sterling knew K2 and knew I knew The Duchess from our work with Weight Watchers. “What show would you do?” they asked. Oprah was on the list. I thought it was a trick question. Now I knew what the Blackberry buzzing was about on Tuesday night. It was all Konnecting.
I acted even before I was officially hired. I wrote the Oprah producers: “Duchess of York, do you want her?” They immediately called me. I told them Sterling was asking about interviews. They said another source told them they already had the interview.
I quickly figured out exactly who the players were and any details I could. I was ready when Sterling brought me in Wednesday afternoon to sit down with the Duchess, hear her story, and help put an action plan together.
The book party was only hours away at this point. Media was attending from everywhere, and everyone wanted the Duchess exclusively for all the wrong reasons. We worked fast to sort everything out and booked Oprah for the private exclusive interview in LA.
But Sarah Ferguson clearly needed someone by her side for more than those few hours. She was genuinely lost. She seemed in need of a kindred spirit. She told me I had to be there that night and in LA Friday for Oprah.
Could I do it? I wanted to be there for her. I felt an emotional connection to her. I believed getting her to and through the interview would be healing for her and allow her to find herself, which she so needed. Yet Vegas loomed. I was supposed to be there a few days early for the transfer to relax for a change.
“So much for relaxation,” I thought. I shared what was going on with me with the Duchess, and she asked Darren for permission for me to fly to LA. He said yes, not just because he sensed the Duchess needed me to do this but that I wanted to as well.
Maybe he saw what I only realized later: There was another person in need of healing in the room. ME.