The day finally arrived where I would meet one of the biggest influencers in my life, Oprah Winfrey. 

It seemed so surreal to go from spending years watching her on TV to now seeing her live for the first time in my city. I gathered along with 15,000 other friends to spend the day learning from Oprah. Guests Laila Ali, Amy Schumer, Julianne Hough joined Oprah to share how to transform our mind, body and spirit.

The day started with music that got everyone on their feet. Immediately, I felt energized. Thanks to Daybreaker, a global morning dance community, we were ready to enjoy an incredible day of wellness and inspiration. I could feel the atmosphere shifting to a higher vibration.

Then finally, the moment we all were waiting for: “HELLLLLOOOOO Charlotte!”

Oprah took the stage. It felt like one of Oprah’s Favorite Things episodes: screaming, cheering, hugging, a few tears…and that was just me.

After the introduction, we went straight to work in our workbooks to complete a self-assessment. Oprah walked us through an array of questions relating to wellness, work and relationships. We graded ourselves to determine where our focus should be. The intent was to help us become the purest version of ourselves. It was eye-opening to recognize my imperfections and the areas that needed my focus. 

Next, Laila Ali came to speak about transforming our lives. Her period of transformation was during her boxing career. Laila said she had to bet on herself because she didn’t have the support of her father, the G.O.A.T., Muhammed Ali. It was one of my biggest takeaways: I won’t always have the support from the ones I love, but no matter what, I have to do what I feel is best for me.

Then, we moved into a moment of meditation. The Spectrum Center was almost completely silent. In that moment, I realized the importance of taking a break. 

After lunch, the dance party continued with Kinrgy — a dance workout led by its celebrity creator, Julianne Hough. We recited affirmations allowing our thoughts to flow from our mind to our body, discovering our superpowers. The energy was simply amazing. 

The day wrapped with a conversation between Oprah and comedian Amy Schumer that centered around Schumer’s marriage, motherhood and career. It was moving to see her vulnerability as she talked about recent difficulties she faced with in vitro fertilization. Schumer was her true self, showing up in sweats, sneakers and no makeup. I laughed and connected to her story.

There were so many gems spending the day with my “Aunt” Oprah, but these four stuck with me: 

  • Stay in your lane. Focus on what you have going on; don’t be swayed by what others are doing.  
  • Bet on yourself. Have faith in your dreams. Even if those closest to you don’t support you, go after what you want. 
  • Be intentional. Make sure there’s a reason for everything you do and that it is aligned with your vision.
  • Have a mantra. Mine: I Can! I Will! Watch ME!

Kristian Hilliard is a lifestyle blogger now living in Charlotte. A Native South Carolinian, she loves exploring the Queen City, fashion and coffee -- preferably iced.