Fusion correspondent and Nightline on Fusion co-anchor Kimberly Brooks interviewed her former boss Oprah Winfrey for her first documentary project: O Girls. The program tracks the lives of six graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy of Girls, all of whom hail from rough circumstances in South Africa. The topic had special meaning for Brooks, whose first job in TV was an assistant at The Oprah Winfrey Show. When Winfrey went to South Africa to check out the academy, Brooks went with her and got to know some of the girls from the school. The rest is history.
So, what sparked the idea for this documentary?
“At the end of 2015, one of the girls that I am close to that graduated from the Academy came to visit me in Miami,” Brooks explained to TVNewser. “It was during that visit when I brought her to the office that the idea for the project was sparked. Once Mark Lima, who is the vice president of news at Fusion, learned about our relationship he found the connection to be interesting and suggested telling the stories of where a few of the students are now.”
At first, Brooks wasn’t totally comfortable reporting the story. She got in touch with some of the girls to gauge their interest, and to her pleasant surprise, they were interested. Then she emailed Winfrey to gauge her interest as well. Like the girls, she was game.
“By April, we were starting to film the girls in the U.S. weeks away from their graduation,” said Brooks. “In late May, I went to interview Oprah at her home in Montecito. In July, we did our filming in South Africa. And by September we were beginning to edit.”
The culmination of hr work airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Fusion. What does she hope the audience takes away from it?
“There are so many young girls with amazing potential and this documentary proves when someone invests in and nurtures that potential, incredible things happen. I hope their stories leave people inspired.”
Winfrey has already seen it and has given it her seal of approval. “To have her say that we did a beautiful job, and that she learned things from watching meant everything,” Brooks says.