Oprah and Maya

My girlfriend has been a longtime admirer of both of them and asked me to paint their portrait shortly after Maya’s death. We often remarked that they could be related they look so similar.

It was originally gifted to Brendon Burchard. Brendon Burchard is the world’s #1 high performance coach, a 3-time New York Times bestselling author, and one of the most-watched, quoted, and followed motivational speakers in history endorsed by Oprah.

Winfrey had known Angelou since nearly the start of her career in her 20s and often referred to the poet as her mother, sister, friend and “one of the greatest influences” in her life.

Maya was Oprah’s mentor and remained so until her death in 2014 at age 86.

Oprah and Maya had similar backgrounds in that they were black women born in poverty and had many obstacles to overcome as children. Both had extremely difficult childhoods.

Both were extremely accomplished and been in the public eye for many years.

“For the first time, as a young black girl, my experience was validated.” Said Oprah.

As the years went on, the two American icons became close friends. Angelou went on to become what Oprah described as her “mentor-mother-sister-friend”. She gave her advice that changed her approach to her life and career.

Angelou attempted to invent new identity for black woman in terms of physical beauty that many white women regarded as one of the aspects of evaluating women's virtues. Angelou blended her influential voice in her poems correspondingly to sustain her powerful independent identity as a black woman.

Dr. Maya Angelou's advice and teachings have inspired people all over the world, including Oprah, who often cites one particular piece of Dr. Angelou's advice as one of her own favorites:

"When people show you who they are, believe them."

Other quotes she liked from Maya were

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”


"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

Top inspiring quotes from Oprah Winfrey

  • "You don't become what you want, you become what you believe."
  • "Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity.
  • "When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are."
  • "Think like a queen.