The media game is cutthroat, but Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey are two fierce black queens that have more than held their own in the industry for more than 20 years. Although America crowned Oprah as queen years ago, her BFF of over 30 years, Gayle is finally getting her flowers in the form of an $11 million contract from CBS and she is our forever career goals.
After a nearly two-month-long negotiation process, it was announced Gayle has successfully doubled her salary, earned the coveted title of CBS This Morning anchor, and solidified herself as the most valuable player at CBS. Not only did she secure the bag, but she also taught us what it means to take a risk, demand what you deserve, and expect nothing less.
Last month, sources reported that network staffers worried whether or not they would be able to accommodate the journalist's $5.5 million dollars pay increase, but Gayle's unwillingness to back down ultimately gave her the upper hand. Oprah recently revealed in an interview that she had her girl's back the whole way, and even gave her lawyer a call to make sure her friend got every cent that she's earned.
"I said, 'Get what you want. Get exactly what you want because now's the time. And if you don't get what you want, then make the next right move.' Even without me, she was going to do that. But that was my advice, and I actually called up her lawyer, Allen Grubman, and I said, 'Allen, she should get what she wants.' And Allen goes, 'What the F do you think I'm doing here? I said the same thing to her!'"
During the negotiations with the network, Gayle was especially tight-lipped and reminded us all that real g's move in silence, especially when it comes to money matters. At Variety's Power of Women luncheon, the journalist explained:
"I never ever discuss contracts in the media. I think the best place to discuss a contract is with CBS."
The 64-year-old mother of two may have recently garnered an influx of media attention after debuting her viral interview with R. Kelly and securing a multimillion-dollar check, but trust and believe, she's not new to this; Auntie Gayle is true to this. Daughter of an electric engineer and homemaker, Gayle King launched her career as a production assistant at a local TV station in Maryland, where she met Oprah, who at the time, was an anchor. Although Gayle majored in sociology and psychology during her time at the University of Maryland, she soon discovered her affinity for media production. She explained in an interview with USA Today:
"I majored in psychology, so I never really intended to be in television. I've always liked (and still do) listening to other people's problems and giving them unsolicited advice, and so I thought I would be good in psychology – that I'd have a practice where I would listen to problems all day long. I was going to do that or law school."
After letting go of dreams to one day become a doctor or a lawyer, Gayle made a decision that would change the trajectory of her life. She soon found herself knee-deep in a career that she was wildly intrigued by, but unfortunately knew nothing about.
"But I got an entry-level position at a TV station when I was in college, and then I became hooked. You'll talk to 10 different people and get 10 different stories of how we started in this business, but for me, it was really by accident. It wasn't something that I intended to do."
Despite her spontaneous change in profession, Gayle decided to pursue this accidental career all the way to the top. Gayle went on to become an Emmy-award winning newscaster and even acted as Editor-At-Large of O Magazine when it launched. Last year, Gayle was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and she has been considered by TIME as one of the most influential people of 2019, but it all started with her taking a risk that helped her attain the life she truly deserved.
Gayle says you can keep this same energy by pursuing your own purpose, even if that means doing something that scares you.
"I think it's OK to take a risk. Don't take a foolish risk, but I think it's good in life to take a risk. I also believe that I don't care who you are, how big you are, everybody always has something to learn."
Take it from Ms. King, you don't have to be perfect at your passion. You just have to have enough courage to get better. She continued:
"Everybody can always get better. So, I'm never under any illusion that, despite the success that I've had, that there's never another rung I can climb on the ladder. I don't know what that is, but I think that there's always a way to get better and do better."
Congrats on securing your bag, Queen King! Let me hold a dollar…
Featured image by Dominik Bindl/WireImage