By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 18, 2002 11:00 AM

Who would have guessed Oprah Winfrey, 48, has insecurities about her role as a media mogul? But the April 1 edition Fortune, on whose cover the talk-show host will appear, for story titled, “The Business of Being Oprah,” she admits just that. (Fortune, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.) “I don’t think of myself as a businesswoman,” she said at the beginning of her four-hour face-to-face with Fortune. “The only time I think about being a businesswoman is now, while I’m talking to you. There’s this part of me that’s afraid of what will happen if I believe it all.” The article is of note because it is Winfrey’s first-ever extensive interview with a business publication. The interview took place while Oprah (even Fortune refers to her by her first name) sat in an overstuffed armchair in her office at her production company, Harpo Inc.’s, Chicago headquarters, with her two cocker spaniels at her feet. And, in typical candid Oprah fashion, she admits — happily, states the magazine — that she can neither read a balance sheet nor name any corporate role models. Though she has kissed Tom Cruise and mingled with world leaders, she has never met former GE chief Jack Welch or computer titan Michael Dell. She also has turned down requests from AT&T, Ralph Lauren and Intel to sit on their corporate boards. “I just say, ‘Guys, I don’t know what I’d be doing on your board,’ ” she said. Oprah’s so wary of investing her own money in the stock market, Fortune reveals, that she once hoarded $50 million in cash, calling it her personal “bag-lady fund.”

Check out the rest of Fortune’s in-depth interview with Oprah.