For ten years Iyanla Vanzant has provided a source of therapeutic release for many through her series “Fix My Life.” With wisdom and, at times, controversial methods of healing, Ms. Vanzant has brought to light areas of growth needed for every guest who has sat on her couch. In turn, these moments have touched the hearts of viewers and facilitated necessary conversations in our community about grief, trauma and true peace. Eight seasons and 150 episodes later, the show is coming to an end with 6 final episodes and a two-hour farewell special on May 22, 2021 on the OWN Network.
EBONY sat down with the acclaimed author, host, and spiritual life coach to talk about the lasting impact of Fix My Life and continuing in the journey of healing.
EBONY: Reflecting on 10 years of “Fix My Life,” how does it feel to be bringing the show to a close?
Iyanla: I’m grateful. I’m grateful to God, to life, to Oprah Winfrey(laughs). So many people don’t get an opportunity to realize their vision or their dream, and my vision has always been to facilitate healing amongst people. I’m excited that I don’t have to work this summer. I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support. We always had to worry week to week about if viewers were going to watch and now that we are leaving, people are freaked out. It’s a good time, I’m excited.
EBONY: With this upcoming season, what are some of the topics viewers may relate to?
Iyanla: I think that there are so many lessons that we work through with guests on “Fix My Life” – relationship issues, mother-daughter breakdown, father-son breakdown and how to get back on track in general. That’s where many people are as a result of the pandemic, the shutdown and the masks. Many people will be able to look at these stories and get the tools they need to reset, recreate and reinvent themselves after the pandemic.
EBONY: How have you envisioned a “new normal” for our community? What tools do we need to make this come true in a sustainable way?
Iyanla: I think that it’s so important as a coach, as a minister, and as a teacher, to look for areas where there is resistance – that’s where the healing is required. People are resistant to the masks. My hope is that we will look at the things that are masked within our society by our fast moving, fast paced life.
Racial injustice was masked for a long time. The denigration and dishonor of women and feminine energy has been masked. White male superiority has been masked for a long time. Dishonesty in our thinking, in our speaking, in our leadership and in our way of being has been masked for a long time. So my hope is that we look at the things that have been revealed during the pandemic and we take the masks off them and deal with them. We have that going on right now with the Derek Chauvin trial and George Floyd. But what happened to Breonna Taylor? Trayvon Martin? What happened to Eric Garner? Those masks were still on and now they are being ripped off. My hope is that we move forward in a new way.
EBONY: How has the “Fix My Life” journey been healing and transformative within your own life?
Iyanla: Every guest represents a part of me. There isn’t a story in which I could not see a part of my life. Many of those I shared during the process and many of those I had to take back home and work on it. I’ll never forget the Jay Williams Story, the man with 34 kids and 11 mothers and the studio show we did around that. I remember a mother and her son spoke about how she was unaware that she was handicapping him. I had to apologize to my son also for what I had done that might have diminished him in any way. I was trying to be a mom and keep him safe but he is a man and needed to figure things out his own way.
Each story has shown where I have really done the healing, where more healing was required, where things I didn’t know need to be healed. It was eye-opening. Whenever you stand out in the public, you have to realize that if it’s in the chair, it’s in the room. If my guest was in front of me, it was a part of me. I needed to be able to recognize that. I believe that’s why I was able to go hard on some guests because I recognized some part of myself and knew what was possible
EBONY: Are there any episodes in particular that have impacted you the deepest?
Iyanla: The episodes that are the most memorable to me are the ones that impact the largest number of viewers and that touch upon the most issues. The show is for the viewers. The guests were always going to get what they needed. Those who had eating disorders saw the 600 pound woman or the twins who were moved around from family to family in foster care and forced to have sex with each other in order to get a meal showed the deficiencies in our foster care system. It showed how we deny our children. So the shows that are most memorable are the ones that unmask issues in our society and in our communities of color.
EBONY: What is the next step in your journey now that you have extra time?
Iyanla: I am going to rewatch every episode of “Law and Order.” I have three quilts that I have started and am going to finish.I am expanding my body product line, MasterPeace. Not having to do anything, that’s a project.
There’s something called an “ intransitive verb.” Verbs are action words. Intransient verbs mean that there does not have to be a specific object. For example, “Billy ran fast.” For me, “sit” is an intransient verb. “Stay” is an intransitive verb. “Sleep” is an intransitive verb. (laughs) Sit, stay, sleep as opposed to run and travel. I’m going to stick with the sitting, staying and sleeping verbs.
EBONY: What are the final messages that you hope your audience takes away from this final season?
All things are lessons that God will have you learn. If you can just see whatever is going on, there’s a lesson. The way you get to the lesson is through truth. Truth will correct all errors. We get caught up in what is fact and forget the truth.
Finally, it’s do work. Do the work to see the lessons and understand the truth. Do the work to do the healing.
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Savannah M. Taylor is a native of Springfield, MA, and a graduate of Syracuse University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies with a minor in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. Some of her many passions include storytelling through various mediums and bringing awareness to Black history and culture through the advocacy of the Black diasporic community. These passions led her to start her own initiative called The Silhouette Brand, a platform to provide access to resources, opportunity, and exposure for people across the African diaspora.