That “O” magic

Gracey Hitchcock and Dr. OzI could hear the screams and squeals that greeted Dr. Mehmet Oz’s arrival long before I could see him. To his millions of primarily-female fans, he is a rock star. They want to talk to him and touch him. Dr. Oz rewards their devotion by making each and every one of them feel not just special, but like a personal friend. He signed books and posed for pictures with no hint of fatigue or boredom. He grasped his fans’ hands, and spoke with each and every one who patiently stood in line.

Dr. Mehmet Oz wants to help women “feel good and look better.” Thousands of women came to hear him and O Magazine’s other O-leberties talk about “how to live their best lives.”  All of Oprah’s hand-picked sages have the same ability to connect that Dr. Oz and Oprah herself have; they make every Oprah fan feel as if she or he is engaged in a deeply intimate and transformational conversation. It’s almost as if no one else is there, even in a massive auditorium.
 
O, The Oprah Magazine sponsors O You! every year. The $125-a-ticket event features discussions and speeches, meets-and-greets and giveaways – and inspires the same cult-like devotion that Oprah’s TV show once did. Women flew in from all over the country, to meet, touch, and talk with their favourite O experts.
 
Like all of Oprah’s most successful protégés, Dr. Oz knows how to make even difficult truths palatable. When I asked him the single most important thing women could do every day to “feel good and look better,” he told me they should take “a vigorous 30-minute walk”. He stressed that the walk should not be leisurely, and that getting movement into your daily life is important. Dr. Oz also suggested giving up all white food and not eating after 8 PM, but he added, “teas are okay at night if you are hungry.”
 
Dr. Oz is adamant about the need for sleep. “Sleep hygiene is important: you need a dark room, a cold room, and regular habits.” He added that “melatonin does work, but you need to take it the right way."
 
He repeated the message in his talk later that day. He joked, smiled and even flirted a little, as he warned his audience — as he has many times before — that if they do not get enough sleep, water, or sex that they will overeat and crave carbs. There was nothing new in the message, but the audience was seduced. This handsome doctor smiles easily and doesn’t hesitate to pat a shoulder or touch a hand. In the cold hard world of medicine, Dr. Oz is a warm hug.
 
One woman told me that she felt the seminar would give her the push she needed to "focus." A pretty mother of three confided she had come “to get some ideas about what to do next,” now that her children were older.
 
The message of the day was overwhelmingly positive and hopeful. It is easy to see why women respond. Oprah and O Magazine give overworked and under-appreciated women permission to focus on themselves. Her experts even demand it. “You should want to give to yourself as much as you want to give of yourself,” financial guru Suze Orman exhorted one woman. She had confessed to giving too much of herself to others.
 
“I don’t think women can have it all,” Eva La Rue of CSI Miami told me. She explained it is too hard and too stressful to be everything for everyone all the time. “We don’t lean on our girlfriends enough,” she said. She planned to talk about those issues at her luncheon address. It is a message working mothers will relate to.
 
Gracey Hitchcock and Adam GlassmanAdam Glassman, the creative director of O Magazine, gave style advice. Like Dr. Oz, Adam is good-looking, charming, and extremely popular with the ladies of O.
 
I spent some time chatting with him. He is known for his discerning sense of style, so I asked him to name the worst fashion mistakes women make all the time. "What is bad is when women are larger and they wear a big flowing top with a big flowing bottom. Then everything is just big and square,” he told me without hesitation. “No matter what your size, you need clothes that fit.”
 
According to Adam most women also wear a bra that is the wrong size. He says another of fashion faux pas is wearing stockings that don’t match your shoes. “I’m a big fan of monochromatic dressing,” he added.
 
O You! was a lovely, if long, day. All the O-lebrities were there, including the magazine’s editor Gayle King. Even Oprah was there to cap things off with a special session. The crowd was incredibly well-behaved and friendly, even as they waited in a long line for a free pair of Spanx hose.
 
It is clear that  “O” magic is still strong as ever for many women.
 
All photos by Toren Anderson
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