40 Days of Fauxprah

Cherri oprahOne woman’s quest to live like O.

by Cherri Ellis


According to Forbes, the aggregate wealth in the world is $6.4 trillion. That’s a lot of clams. When you look at the list of who is richest, Microsoft’s Bill Gates is No. 1 with $80.9 billion. Ranked at 14th at 30 years old, Mark Zuckerburg gave us Facebook, and for that we gave him $34 billion. Um…LIKE. 

Imagine my shock at discovering that Oprah isn’t even in the Top 500. Oprah Winfrey, television maven, publisher of her own magazine, actress, producer, owner of her own website with 70 million page views a month, owner of her own radio channel…I mean, the woman owns her own cable network! It’s even called OWN. On the list of the richest people in the world, our girl Oprah is ranked No. 571. Bless her heart.

Humble as this accomplishment may be, Oprah didn’t get there on her own. Her team is practically as famous as she is: Steadman, Gayle, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz—not to mention her financial adviser, private chef, and personal trainer. Who hasn’t dreamed of this sort of set-up?

I want to have a team around me who collectively focuses on my every need so that I am free to do Oprah-like things. What could I accomplish if I didn’t have to take the time to figure out what to do with the chicken in the fridge before it goes bad and kills the whole family? What would life be like if someone else was in charge of my fitness goals? How awesome would it be if, when I had a lavish occasion to attend, an assistant reminded me that it was time to try on the dresses in consideration?

I want to be Oprah. Just for a little while. Unfortunately, I am short $3 billion, so I will call myself Fauxprah.

As Fauxprah, for 40 days and nights, I will seek the assistance of my own stable of experts in all matters of consequence. Like Jesus in the desert and Noah on the Ark, 40 days shall pass before I come out the other side a changed person.

The first thing I will need is a personal chef, and I have found the perfect solution in Sean Butler. With partner Doug Hovanec, he is behind Catering By Bellini’s on Highway 280. Along with classic catering for groups (in case Fauxprah needs to serve a crowd), they provide pre-prepared, portioned, perfectly delicious meals in microwaveable, recyclable containers, and there is a Paleo option. They are so popular that, if you do not pre-order your meals within the allotted time, they pull the menu offline so that you can’t even see what the ones who got in get to eat. It is like the Studio 54 of prepared meal services.

My personal trainer will be Ashley Knight, a married mother of two who has waist-length dark hair and the body fat of a stainless steel toaster. One day, I happened to be driving by as she was involved in a fender bender on Highway 280. She got out of her car to survey the damage, and I actually watched two other cars wreck while looking at her. I am confidant that after 40 days under her tutelage, I, too, will be able to cause vehicular mayhem with my very presence.

Also on Fauxprah’s team will be Dr. Elizabeth Kvale, UAB’s director of supportive care and survivorship. She and her program helped me not completely lose my mind as I battled a rare type of breast cancer. She is just as likeable as Dr. Oz, but smarter, more fun, and for damn sure more medically accurate. I will also need a Dr. Phil, because someone needs to periodically get all up in my business and say, “How’s that working for you?”

I have my Steadman, as all married people do or should have. My husband, Buz, will handle the extraneous details of my adventure, and like Steadman, he has been around since 1986. Both men are successful in their own right, yet completely unbothered by holding a girl’s purse till she returns.

I actually have a handful of Gayles, but for 17 years they have been led by one Vanita Fitzgerald. Vanita has managed to get me politely asked to leave more establishments than all of the other Gayles combined. We once attended our daughters’ kindergarten Colonial Day in full garb, but when we decided our hair didn’t look authentic, we yanked the doilies out from under the vases in my dining room and pinned them over our buns. Every time we looked at each other we dissolved, until finally the principal separated us, sending one to churn butter and one to serve water out of the fake well.

As I assemble the rest of my team, I can already tell that being Fauxprah is going to rock. I will be free to work like a maniac in media because I will have experts in charge of everything else. I will have a book club with which I will meet and exchange important insights about recipes and mankind and what it meant that he came back at the end for her. I will promote my causes. I will do my best work. I will know why the caged bird sings.

And if I manage to attend some fabulous event and Bromberg’s wants to accessorize me, I will be super nice to the bodyguard they put on me for the night. I am good that way.

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