"My mom died at thirty-nine. It's a story I tell often, and now it sounds like someone else's life. So I was gonna make all my success and then retire at forty, and guess what? I did that. And then I went home, and every year I would have my mammogram and say, 'Is it now?' And the doctor keeps going, 'No, you're healthy. You could lose a little weight, but you're all right.' Every year. Then I finally realized, 'Crap, I may live.' So I needed a plan for act two."
Rosie O'Donnell is nothing if not completely honest, and frankly it is her willingness to lay it all out there that makes her so relatable. She's not always going to say things that everyone agrees with ("my job is mostly to entertain and be funny," she said) but she knows enough to know it is not her place to worry about what other people think as long as she is just speaking her truth.
"Authenticity, I believe, is making a comeback because of the gross excess of the nineties and because of the state of the economy, and people are looking for something real, not fake anymore," O'Donnell offered.
"I think anybody who creates art expecting the result of how it's interpreted never can make anything good. So what you have to do is just look at that blank canvas and create something that's real and authentic, and how people receive it, you can't really be concerned with."
Though O'Donnell doesn't consider herself someone sitting at home watching would aspire to be, Made Possible by Pop Culture might argue otherwise. She's not perfect, and she's not always polished, but she has a confidence that is seemingly unmatched by anyone else in the business. That is certainly something to aspire to for any young woman, in the entertainment industry or otherwise.
But even more than the confidence, she maintains a down-to-Earth, "average Jane" appeal, proving that despite all of her varied successes, she really is still hasn't lost touch with her roots, and she stays true to who she really is. Certainly her years as a stand-up comedian, telling personal stories of her trials and tribulations in a light-hearted way designed to bring the audience in, helped her accessibility. And her time with her syndicated talk show in the nineties, on which she spoke directly to her fans by showing off the side of herself that had a great love for all things pop culture and the arts, aided the cause. Coming into people's homes for an hour every day on television, and then more recently online, allowed the very many sides of O'Donnell to be showcased and led to the mainstream success that is now affording her a position as a talk show host on Oprah Winfrey's network.
"This is my job. It's been the only job I've had," O'Donnell shared. "I started at sixteen doing standup, and you know, I'm about to be fifty, so this is all I've ever known. I never had another job, so no matter what's happening, I'm a professional, and I can do one hour of entertaining stuff."
There used to be a time in Hollywood when "women of a certain age" would no longer get work at all, but O'Donnell is proving that all of her hard work, experience, substance, and maturity has actually amounted to something bigger and better at a later stage in her life than any of the commercial success she achieved years ago.
"Oprah has taught us all, you manifest your own destiny, and I believe in some ways I did manifest this," O'Donnell admitted.
And hopefully with her new The Rosie Show, O'Donnell will inspire others to think more positively and to dream larger regarding what can be achieved, as well.