Cheryl Strayed has figured out Oprah’s success


AUSTIN — Contrary to popular belief, meeting Oprah Winfrey is not like “meeting the queen,” according to “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed.

“The moment I met Oprah, she was restarting her book club with ‘Wild.’ I went to her house in Montecito near Santa Barbara [California]. I was brought to this little guest house which was nicer than any of our houses,” she told podcaster Tim Ferriss at South by Southwest on Saturday.

“She’s interviewing me on the show. It’s this big kinda moment. They tell me to go down this path through these Redwood trees. At the end of this path, there’s Oprah,” Strayed, 48, said. “She’s like ‘Cheryl!’ and she hugs me.”

In June 2012, Winfrey selected “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” as her first pick for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. The film adaptation of the best-selling memoir hit theaters in December 2014 with Reese Witherspoon playing Strayed.

“The thing that struck me … this is why Oprah is successful, is that … the look on her face and what I could see in her eyes is her vulnerability,” she continued. “I was meeting Oprah and I wanted her to like me. Oprah was meeting me and she wanted me to like her.”

“She was still this incredibly humble human who was really looking to have an authentic human connection with me. This what’s driven her success — her genuine desire to connect with people and be open. That kind of curiosity has driven her to these great heights,” she explained. “To me, the mark of success is staying open in this whole way.”



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