I first saw Nate Berkus about 4 years ago on Oprah. This particular show was focused on the terrible aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Like the rest of the world, I was overwhelmed by the devastation caused to many different countries and thousands of people. I grew up on an island so it was hard for me to watch the news reports.
Oprah started to talk to an attractive man seated next to her, who she introduced as her interior designer, Nate. He and his long time companion, Fernando Bengoechea, were swept away from their rented cottage located on a famous surfing beach close to Arugam Bay near Sri Lanka. Berkus survived. His beloved Fernando did not.
I was emotionally affected by Nate’s recounting of his loss. Here was this gay man who had just had the love of his life taken away from him. I had almost lost my Gary around the same time period. It was not to a monstrous ocean wave but to something just as horrifying- cancer. Gary survived.
I have watched Nate’s career grow over the years, especially within the Oprah organization. He has his own radio show on Sirius radio. His world renown interior design business Nate Berkus and Associates is one of the most innovative and respected firms of its kind in the nation.
Part of their philosophy:
“…It is imperative to Nate Berkus Associates that their clients identify with their environment and as a result, become comfortable in their finished project. This principal philosophy of understanding leading to contentment is what sets Nate Berkus Associates apart.” ( Firm Overview, www.nateberkus.com).
He has also been featured regularly on her show and in her magazine.
Throughout the time period following the tsunami, I have seen Nate embrace life, show charity and become a real strength to those around him. There is no bitterness in his voice. There are no fists raised in anger towards the heavens. There is no wallowing in self pity.
Nate has been able to move on and make life better. I sense a spirit of purpose in Berkus.
He has been selected again as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful and Influential Gay People in the USA by Out.Com. He is a great example for us all – gay and straight.
Nate is also the Host of Oprah’s Big Give.