An Open Letter to Oprah, Whose ‘The Life You Want’ Tour Asked Me to Work for Free…


It was originally posted on her site, You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

To achieve the life you want, avoid situations that devalue your worth. Like when Oprah’s “The Life You Want” tour, with its tickets priced up to $999, asks you to perform for free.

Dear Oprah:

No effing way. I could not believe it when a producer from Harpo Studios got in touch last week, asking if I could perform at your “The Life You Want” San Jose tour stop. I mean, OPRAH WINFREY! I’ve always wanted to hear, “Welcome Revollllllvaaaaa,” as I cartwheeled onstage, to tell you my life story—the profundity of all my lingering student loan debt causing you to weep and then declare to America that I am your new BFF. (Sorry, Gayle!)

And the title of your tour: The life you want? Um, hello! As a performer, writer and activist, I’ve spent 12 years taking a million chances, attempting to live in alignment with my spirit, rather than our toxic culture. I’ve spoken up as a survivor. I’m the female comedy act in a space helmet. You want me in your lineup, right? Your producer was totally calling to add me to your list of “trailblazers,” including Deepak Chopra and Elizabeth Gilbert, right?!?

Ah, but Oprah, you are a wise woman. I should have known that, in the phone call with your producer, there was a deep spiritual lesson in store for me. Here is our paraphrased conversation:

Producer: “Your stuff sounds great. Are you interested?”

Me: “Hell yes! Oprah! Oprah!”

Producer: “Okay, so just to be clear, you’d be on a stage outside the event. And, you know, just to be clear, Oprah will not be on that stage. Oh, and just to be clear, this gig isn’t paid.”

* * * *

Dude. Okay. I have to admit that I was initially heartbroken that my name would not be bellowed with 800 extra vowel sounds. Fortunately, my heartbreak was soon short-circuited by the stroke I had when I realized your tour, with its tickets starting at $99 (for the homeless), middling out at $599 (for fast food employees) and rocketing to $999 (For 90s rappers) — featuring trailblazers who never have to dig through every compartment in their car for enough change to cross the Bay Bridge — would be ringing up local performers asking them to do their job for no pay.

The following image summarizes the situation:


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