Winfrey joins Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hanks, Michael B. Jordan, Jessica Chastain, Zendaya, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Michael Shannon, Gal Gadot, Claire Foy and VF‘s editor Graydon Carter on the magazine’s cover, which was shot by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz.
In a video accompanying the issue, which is available nationwide on Feb. 6, the stars are asked, “What has forged you to create your own authentic path throughout your career?”
Of course, Winfrey was thrilled to answer this question. “OK, so here’s the authenticity moment,” she begins. “Laughing at myself as a young TV anchor woman, I had this moment where I realized I can be a better me than I can be a pretend Barbara Walters — and that’s what changed my life. From that moment forward, I felt more like talking like myself and being like myself.”
Dropping even more wisdom, Winfrey continues, “Your ability to show the truth of you is also somebody else’s truth and that when people can see that, that is what they’re relating to.”
Witherspoon also shares what has kept her going in this business. “Whenever I accomplished something, instead of feeling good about it, I was always pushing myself to think, ‘Well, what now? What’s next?’ I’m just really obsessed with learning and pushing myself to be knowledgeable about things I don’t know.”
As for Kidman, she says she got into acting because it serves as an “outlet” for all her emotions. “That’s what pulls me through,” she explains. “That’s my authentic self.”
When Hanks is asked about authenticity, he ponders the age-old question, “What is your big break?”
“In truth, the big break is the very first time anybody asks you to do it professionally,” he shares. “That’s the break that begins everything else. But really, the only reason you’re doing it is for the sheer joyful experience.”