Security on Saturday is said to be tight in Montecito, the exclusive enclave where Oprah Winfrey lives and where she’s hosting the Obama fund-raiser.
Her sprawling, 42-acre estate, which she purchased for a reported $50 million, has been opened for various charity events and parties. In fact, it was at the Legends Ball there two years ago where Winfrey first broached the idea with Barack and Michelle Obama of having a fund-raiser there.
“I said, ‘Wouldn’t this be a good place for a fund-raiser?’ …I said jokingly,” Winfrey told Gayle King on a recent radio show.
Her estate reportedly is called “The Promised Land” — and she does speak of it in glowing terms.
“I really do feel that this place is God’s gift to me,” Winfrey said. “It is a very, very special place [like] sacred spiritual grounds. To offer it is no small thing for me. There are going to be some serious restrictions and requirements to get in there.”
For one, no cameras or recording devices are allowed. Most of the guests will not be in the house, but an outside meadow that features a man-made lake. Security check-in will not be at the home, but some eight miles away at the Earl Warren Fairgrounds, where they can park and be shuttled to the property. Garden attire is preferred. Will Smith, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, Taye Diggs, Lou Gossett Jr. and John Travolta are expected, with entertainment by Stevie Wonder. There’s also been reports that George Clooney will be there.
Given the level of interest in the media, there has been some concern that the public will think that the whole affair is open to the public. As King said, “On the wire services, it is like, ‘Come to Oprah’s house,’ and you want people to know that it isn’t a ‘Come to Oprah’s house (event).’ It is going to be very very tight security. It is not open to everyone and anybody.”