Oprah, Rosie grace cover of O's breakthrough issue

09/07/2011 08:07 am ET | Updated Nov 07, 2011

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is joined by Rosie O'Donnell, the newest addition to the media mogul's OWN TV network, for the October issue of O, The Oprah Magazine that looks at breakthrough visionaries in different fields.

Winfrey interviews the controversial O'Donnell, about her move from her home in New York to Chicago for O'Donnell's latest role as a talk-show host on the OWN channel.

"Sometimes you go outside and get beat up by New York. The city accosts you. But being in the middle of Chicago, it's peaceful," revealed the former co-host of "The View."

O'Donnell, an outspoken lesbian who began her career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1970s, also talks with Winfrey about how fame has impacted her life.

"There are some things I'll never get back -- like the normality of life pre-fame. I've had to come to terms with the fact that fame is like a tattoo -- it doesn't go away," said O'Donnell.

Susan Casey, editor-in-chief of Oprah's O Magazine, characterized the interview with O'Donnell as a warm, personal and candid conversation.

"(It) was really funny, and Oprah is hilarious, which not many people usually see," said Casey.

Along with the feature on O'Donnell, the October issue, which hits newsstands on Sept 13, also profiles 15 people who have made breakthroughs in their industry over this year.

Criteria for being named to O's list were sent to the magazine's staff, who were asked to suggest people "who knocked their socks off," according to Casey.

The final selection was whittled down from suggestions by magazine staff and Winfrey, who weighed in on the final list.

NEWCOMERS AND INNOVATORS

The group features newcomers like 18 year-old "literary prodigy" Victoria Ford, as well as established figures such as "The Incredible Hulk" actor Edward Norton, who was one of the people behind the innovative fund-raising site Crowdrise.

"The list is all about the mix," said Casey. "Ed Norton stepped out of his own comfort zone to do something incredible this year."

Among the final 15 are innovators like British fashion designer Suzanne Lee, who earned a spot for her ability to "grow" dresses from tubs of sugar-fed bacteria. "Yarnbomber" Magda Sayeg was picked for using yarn to adorn mundane, inanimate objects, injecting some color into everyday life.

Misty Copeland broke through racial and body image issues to become the American Ballet Theatre's first female, African American soloist. Copeland has this advice in O for being the best one can be: "If you try something and you feel a connection to it, you have to pursue it."

The theme of breakthroughs is aimed at inspiring readers in an inclusive manner, or trying to "bring the step ladder down," Casey said.

"A breakthrough is a positive thing. Our motto is 'live your best life,' and one of the things people look at is what's holding them back," said Casey.

Casey picks Tony-winner Nikki M. James, the breakout star of Broadway hit "The Book of Mormon," as one person to watch in the future, and the O editor said she wants to write more about Frances Beinecke, president of environmental activist organization, National Resources Defense Council.

"What she does has never been more important than it is now," said Casey of Beinecke, whom she profiled for the issue.

The 'breakthrough' issue also includes a feature on breast cancer in which staff writer Katie Arnold-Ratliffe documented the stories of three women who were diagnosed with breast cancer, exploring their physical and emotional journey.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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