Furthermore, Vanzant told her audience at the screening that Lozada’s story reflects the core of her series’ theme – “life happens to everybody” – and that her intention with the first two episodes was to show young women who idolize reality stars that money, power and status can still equate to the same problems as those living “in the projects.”
Noted Vanzant, “Stupidity doesn’t care about your income level.”
Following the show’s taping, Vanzant says she continues to speak with Lozada nearly ever other day, and that the reality star “swings between gratitude and embarrassment.” Vanzant blames social media for attacking her, calling it a “veil” for “cowards.” Nevertheless, Vanzant doesn’t justify Lozada or anyone else’s actions or feelings; rather she seeks to understand and grow from them.
When asked about Lozada throwing a bottle at her cast member’s head, the life coach replied, “Have you ever been a Puerto Rican from the Bronx?…She was raised by a thug.”
Such candid, vivacious and open-minded sentiment makes Vanzant a compelling force to rally against, and one who will potentially hold her gravity on TV. In her own life, she has more than suffered the strain of tragedy, losing her mother at the age of 3, getting raped at 9, and being dealt several blows throughout her love life. She has since gone on to become a published author, lecturer, and “spiritual psychologist,” and was voted one of the country’s 100 most influential African-Americans by Ebony in 2004. Additionally, her work has garnered her an Emmy Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Rosa Parks Award.
Prior to the premiere of Iyanla: Fix My Life, Vanzant was a regular guest on Winfrey’s program, Oprah’s Lifeclass, but the new show marks a major milestone for the motivational speaker, who credits her faith for any and all success that has come. She believes her self-confidence and pride will keep her wheels spinning, and, fortune favoring, the show has already added additional episodes to its slate on Tuesday.
“It’s my foster child, now everyone wants to adopt her,” Vanzant joked with the crowd. “The suits here in Hollywood said it couldn’t be done. It took a black woman to take a chance to say we could do it. Miss O was as surprised as I was…And we do it without compromising the guest’s identity.”
Accordingly, Vanzant says she’s “not doing television,” but “healing.” She’s found spiritual fortitude in her personal life, and now aims to lead others towards the same autonomy through Winfrey’s overarching vision.
“When Oprah Winfrey tells you that you need to have your own show, you feel compelled to do it,” said Vanzant. “Especially if she’s gonna pay for it!”
Follow Courtney Garcia on Twitter at @courtgarcia