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Charity chief Marie's tears at meeting Oprah

IRISH volunteer Marie O'Riordan has revealed that she burst into tears after meeting Oprah Winfrey.

The 36-year-old told the Herald that meeting the legendary broadcaster was as momentous for her as when she was introduced to Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa.

"She is genuinely larger than life. She has such sincerity ... I was in tears," said Marie, who is the president of an IT company called Ideal Business Intelligence, as well as head of her own charitable organisation which educates children in Africa.

"She gave the impression of being someone who's extremely comfortable in her own skin. She has the power to stop traffic, I can't believe I met her."

The Limerick native travelled to St Louis, Missouri, for the premiere of Ms Winfrey's new programme Lifeclass The Tour and is set to take part in season two of the show.

Oprah and her team chose Marie because they were impressed and inspired by various experiences.

Marie divulged that one of the main reasons the broadcaster picked her was thanks to a traumatic experience she endured only four months ago.

"In December I did a fire walk, like Oprah did herself, on a mountain in Abu Dhabi. But mine went wrong and resulted in second degree burns.

"Doctors thought it would take seven years to heal properly, I just spent four months thinking about it healing, that I wouldn't have scar tissue, a limp, I just focused on being well.. Now it has completely healed.. I was so honoured to take part. Oprah was like, 'you go girl'."

The series is set to air stateside later this year.

Marie, who met Mother Teresa in 1997 when she was volunteering in Calcutta, jetted back to Ireland from the US today after completing a round of interviews.