Gayle King is not slowing down. She’s co-host of “CBS This Morning” and editor-at-large at O, The Oprah Magazine, but she’s also one of those generous people who’s willing to share how she got there.
King first became known to the world as Oprah Winfrey’s best friend. Winfrey called her “the mother I never had ... the sister everybody would want” and “the friend that everybody deserves.” In her own professional life, King has climbed the ladder from a production assistant to a network anchor, most recently wowing Twitter with the way she conducted a jaw-dropping conversation with R. Kelly, who stood, shouted and pointed at the camera while defending himself against sexual assault charges. King remained calmly seated through it all.
We may not have a friend like King in our lives, but in her interviews, she has shared tips on how we can all work smarter and live better. If they help us be more like Gayle King, we’re in.
On not losing her cool
“‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ sounds like a cliché, but it takes a lot to get me really angry or freaked out about anything,” she told The Cut in February 2018. “I’m a really solutions-oriented person, so you present me with a problem and I try to figure out, okay this has happened, what do we do, and how do we fix it.”
On not resting on past success
“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,” King told USA Today in July 2018. “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.”
On not taking herself so seriously
“I don’t mind making fun of myself or making fun of other people in a good-natured way, so everybody is always in on the joke. The other day, I split my dress when I was getting out of the car, so my butt was hanging out and I posted it on Instagram,” King told Adweek magazine in 2015. “People said, ‘Weren’t you embarrassed when you put that up?’ No, but my daughter was.”
On sharing her vulnerabilities in public
King candidly posts about her life on Instagram, from watching “Real Housewives” to going to work with her dress on backwards and documenting her weight on the scale. And she is not ashamed to share that.
“People say, ‘I can’t believe that you show your weight, I can’t believe that you tell your age,’ and I think number one, I’m so happy to be on the planet doing the job that I do, and as far as weight, I think people have eyes,” she said on a Thrive Global podcast in February 2018. “I don’t see any point in sugar-coating things and I think so many people think that you have to present this picture that life is perfect and life is fine ― and I just don’t think that that’s a reality, I don’t. Life has a lot of warts and ups and downs and I try not to overshare, but I think that my life is pretty typical of what a lot of people go through.”
On not being jealous of other people’s success
“When [Winfrey] was making $50 an hour, I was making $27. Somebody said, ‘Do you ever feel lesser?’” King said on Winfrey’s talk show in 2011. “And I go, ‘No, it’s not a friendship based on money.’ I never feel like I’m competing. I never feel lesser than.”
Wanting to be friends with Winfrey but not wanting to actually be Winfrey has allowed King to stay secure in herself and made their friendship work over the past 40 years, she has said.
“I’m very proud to be her friend, and she and I are very, very, very tight, and that’s never going to change, so I don’t feel overshadowed by her,” King said in a New York Times profile in October 2018. “But I feel like there’s only one of her and only one of me, and I kind of like me. I like me. I like her, too, but I really like me.”
On what she would tell people who want her career
“Get your foot in the door and find somebody who you can tell is willing to help,” King told USA Today last year. “In any organization, there’s always going to be somebody that doesn’t mind helping. You’ve got other people that are jerks and forget how they got to that place, but there’s always going to be somebody who’s going to be willing to help you. But you’ve got to get your foot in the door, and you have to work very hard, and you have to make sure that the people in power notice you.”