Miami journalist visits with Oprah in South Africa for ‘O Girls’ documentary

Kim Brooks and Oprah Winfrey on ‘O Girls’
Kim Brooks and Oprah Winfrey on ‘O Girls’

To the world, Oprah Winfrey is a TV star, host, interviewer extraordinaire, actress, Weight Watcher and philanthropist. But Winfrey is also “Mom O,” who made the dreams of many young women a reality by providing them access to a world-class education at The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. For the boarding school’s 10 year anniversary, Miami-based journalist Kimberly Brooks interviewed the megastar for a Fusion special, airing 8 p.m. Sunday. “O Girls,” documents the journeys of several graduates from OWLAG.

What should readers know about “O Girls”?

The power of education is real — it can change lives and ultimately, save lives. A single opportunity can have ripple effects in a community. There are so many young girls with amazing potential and this documentary proves when someone invests in and nurtures that potential, incredible things happen.

What was it like working with Oprah on this project?

The woman is amazing. I am forever grateful she trusted me to do this story. Throughout the entire process, she was accessible and willing to help if I needed anything. But taking the time out of her schedule to allow me to interview her made me feel incredible. It’s one of those moments where you are looking around and thinking, ‘Is this really happening?’

What did you learn from Oprah?

She is an example of someone who not only teaches, but also always has her heart space open to learn. That process of expansion -- of mind and of ideas — should never end, and certainly never stop — even if you are one of the most powerful women in the world.

How did your job at Fusion come about?

I was hired as an ABC News Fellow in New York City after Columbia Journalism School. As part of the fellowship, you do different rotations with the shows so I produced stories for ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘Nightline’ and ‘World News.’ In my last rotation, the talent director suggested I try two months at Fusion, which was partially owned by ABC at the time.

You are from Ohio originally. What is it like being a correspondent in Miami?

Although I’m based here, most of the stories I have covered for the network have taken me out of the city. From Flint, Michigan; New York; and L.A., all the way to Easter Island. But when I am home, I have really come to appreciate the good weather all year round. Takes the stress off!

Where can you be found in your off time?

I love taking a quick run from my house to the Perez Art Museum and relaxing. I think it is a really beautiful space. I love a nice beach day as long as I choose an area that isn’t too busy. One of my favorite restaurants happens to be right in my downtown neighborhood — a cute, tucked away Catalan-style kitchen called NIU.