When James Harries first appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” he was a 13-year-old, bow-tie-wearing prodigy. According to the below segment from Oprah’s “Where Are They Now?” series, James found acclaim and success buying antiques for little money and then selling them for major profits. The 1991 footage shows the boy and his mother sitting side by side onstage as James answers questions about his exceptional intelligence and knack for selling antiques.
According to the Metro, James was born in Surrey, England, in 1978. In the video, James remarks on his parents’ impoverished state when he was younger, explaining that their family visited jumble sales near London to buy clothing, which is where he began purchasing antiques. Oprah refers to one of the more impressive profits James made when he bought a bag of spoons for under 50 cents and then sold it for approximately $3,500.
Despite James’ childhood fame and impressive intellect, the success of the Harries family didn’t last long. According to the Guardian, the Harries family was hit hard by the economic downturn of the 1990s. The article goes on to explain that the family lost the businesses they started and fell into debt.
As part of Oprah’s “Where Are They Now?” series, network staff contacted the former prodigy 24 years after his original appearance to get an update. In the two decades that James was absent from the spotlight, he underwent an enormous change. The woman who appears on-screen in the footage below explains that her name is Lauren Harries, formerly known as James Harries.
Harries refers to herself as a transgender woman who began wrestling with her identity around the age of 18. In the video, Harries explains that she often felt trapped and was unsure of who she was. According to the Guardian, Harries changed her name from James to Lauren at the age of 19. The Guardian interview with Harries also notes that she underwent a sex change in 2001 to fully transition to being female.
“My life is just beginning. It’s like I’ve been reborn,” Harries told the Guardian.
Since Harries’ younger years as a confused, prepubescent boy, she has made a number of television appearances and been featured in magazines. Harries also starred in a season of reality television show “Big Brother,” as reported by the Metro.