Oprah, Jessica Simpson surprise UNCW student

Gena Harrell after her celebrity make-over
Gena Harrell after her celebrity make-over
Gena meets Jessica Simpson
Gena meets Jessica Simpson
Gena with Oprah Winfrey
Gena with Oprah Winfrey
Before & After
Before & After

On Friday's "Oprah", the audience watched a celebrity welcome, with Oprah standing by, as one young woman lived any girls' dream, and in this case, a well deserved surprise.

UNC-Wilmington student Gena Harrell walked the red carpet on "Oprah," less than a year after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Despite a tough battle, Gena stayed strong. She's studying to be a teacher.

"She's just upbeat, never a negative word, just staying in there," describes Kathleen Benzaquin, who leads Harrell's teaching program. "And the fact that she continued her education shows she has incredible resolve, and you want to reward someone like that. You want to recognize them."

Not only did Gena get to meet Oprah, but she's a huge fan of Jessica Simpson, who also surprised Gena on the show. When Gena saw Simpson, she stood in awe for a few seconds, before engulfing her in a hug.

Simpson helped Gena get dolled up for her red carpet makeover, and Gena couldn't have been more excited.

"I feel like a fairy princess!" Gena gushed to Oprah and her audience after she came out for the "after" picture.

Gena's professors say she'll be back at school this summer, and after her big debut on "Oprah," she'll have quite a story to share with her classmates. That is, if they recognize her.

"Oprah" airs weekdays at 4:00 pm on WECT.

Reported by Darcy Douglass