From Iceland — Svanhildur on Oprah

Svanhildur on Oprah

Svanhildur on Oprah

Published May 27, 2005

Here’s the transcript:

Winfrey: Wonderful. Thank you, Thorunn. Mm. I think it’s fascinating. Svanhildur is an anchorwoman on IBC Channel 2 in Reykjavik (pronounced Rock-a-vitch).

Ms. Valsdóttir: Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vitch).

Winfrey: Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vitch). Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vitch).

Ms. Valsdóttir: Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vitch).

Winfrey: Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vitch). Yeah.

Ms. Valsdóttir: That’s good enough. Good enough.

Winfrey: No, Reykjavik (pronounced Ray-ka-vitch)…

Ms. Valsdóttir: Yeah.

Winfrey: …which is home of the OPRAH show in Iceland. Now what I found interesting about that–what did you-all find interesting about that tape we just heard? For me, the most interesting was that there is no stigma about being a single mom whatsoever.

Ms. Valsdóttir: No.

Winfrey: None whatsoever.

Ms. Valsdóttir: No. No.

Winfrey: It’s just accepted?

Ms. Valsdóttir: Yeah.

Winfrey: No judgment whatsoever.

Ms. Valsdóttir: Nope, none.

Winfrey: It’s not like you’re less than the people who are married or not and you…

Ms. Valsdóttir: No.

Winfrey: No?

Ms. Valsdóttir: No, you don’t need a husband to have some kind of a status.

Winfrey: Who are you talking to, girl? I think I’m part Icelandic. Yeah. And I never knew it until now. OK. Is it true that having sex when you first meet someone is the norm? Is that the norm in Iceland, would you say?

Ms. Valsdóttir: It happens, yes.

Winfrey: OK.

Ms. Valsdóttir: I don’t think sex is that big a deal in Iceland, because, you know, probably just about everyone is having it, so it’s not something you have to talk about and be ashamed of.

Winfrey: Yeah, because everybody’s having it. Everybody having it here, too.

Ms. Valsdóttir: Yeah. Well, so why is it a big deal?

Winfrey: Why is it that it’s not such a big deal there, do you think?

Ms. Valsdóttir: I guess we’re a bit liberal about things because we have a much lower threshold for beginning new relationships. And you don’t have to go on a date, number one and two, and perhaps on the third date you ask him in. You don’t have rules like that.

Winfrey: You don’t have rules like that.

Ms. Valsdóttir: No.

Winfrey: I want to know what you guys think of us. When you’re out there to bars and you’re drinking and you’ve had a couple of pops, what do you say about American women in particular?

Ms. Valsdóttir: Oh, you’ve got these absolutely fabulous television shows, like, you know, practically every woman in Iceland watched “Sex and the City” as the new…(Brief discussion of crappy TV shows.)

Winfrey: Do you like our celebrities? Like, OK, do you like Tom Cruise?

Ms. Valsdóttir: My sister loves him…

Winfrey: Loves. OK. Good.

Ms. Valsdóttir: …but the new craze is “Desperate Housewives,” and…

Winfrey: Oh, it is for us, too. It is for us, too.

Ms. Valsdóttir: It’s just kind of a show that I think probably everyone can relate to.

Winfrey: OK. But this is what I really want to know. When you all are talking about American women, do you say we’re fat? You’re blushing, so that must have come up at some point.

Ms. Valsdóttir: What I was going to say was that when I watch the OPRAH show at home…

Winfrey: Yeah.

Ms. Valsdóttir: …I always thought that you had make-up artists go over, like, all the audience, because everyone always looked so great.

Winfrey: Yeah. Don’t they?

Ms. Valsdóttir: Yeah, they do.

Winfrey: So you do say that we’re fat, don’t you?

Ms. Valsdóttir: Well, we have a lot of news coming from America in Iceland.

Winfrey: Yeah.

Ms. Valsdóttir: And we often have footage of obese people walking down the street, people that are so fat that you couldn’t find a single person in Iceland that would be that fat.

Winfrey: Yeah.

Ms. Valsdóttir: I’ve been watching a lot of American television for the last days, and I think you have too many commercials trying to make you lose weight, because I don’t think it’s the people that really need to lose weight but just think, `Oh, God, I have an extra pound here or an extra pound here. I have to lose it,’ because…

Winfrey: You think we have too much emphasis on weight? Is that what you think?

Ms. Valsdóttir: Yeah.

Winfrey: OK. More of our world tour when we come back. We’ll be right back.

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