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Our evening with Iyanla 'Fix My Life' Vanzant

AIMING HIGH: Iyanla Vanzant, centre, surrounded by fans at The Lighthouse (image credit: BlackInkPhotos)

HUNDREDS OF women queued outside The Lighthouse in Camberwell, south London on Saturday June 24 in preparation for the guest of honour – Ms. Iyanla Vanzant.

The critically-acclaimed author, television host and lifestyle guru is known for her humorous yet direct approach to life, love and relationships and all her guests were excited to receive the trinkets of wisdom that Vanzant had to provide.

With 17 books under her belt, Vanzant was not new to the personal development world before appearing on Oprah Winfrey's long-running talk show as a resident relationship expert. A misunderstanding between the two women caused a rift lasting 11 years and Vanzant was missing from the show's line-up for 11 years.

Winfrey extended an invitation to her old friend in 2011 and viewers watched the two women hold a frank and heartfelt chat on the show, which healed old wounds and resulted in the duo teaming-up again more recently to bring hit show Iyanla: Fix My Life to the OWN network.

BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL: Iyanla Vanzant sings along with the audience (image credit: BlackInkPhotos

Vanzant bought the same straightforward, loving and humourous demeanour that had earned her so much kudos on-screen to her London fans who gathered to see her for the first time since her last visit to the capital seven years ago.

Amongst a 3000 strong crowd who offered a rapturous welcome, the youthful 63 year-old made quite the entrance as Beyoncé’s Love on Top played melodically in the background. Walking towards the stage dressed in white and her signature bright smile; Vanzant took the time to greet a crowd of fans who got close to the star before leading a prayer, meditation and sing-along.

The joyous atmosphere throughout the auditorium was electric throughout the theatre, as guests clapped, sung and danced alongside Vanzant as she prepared to give one of two spiritually-charged interactive guidance sessions of the day; which were both filled with laughs, tears and moments of reflection.

The inspirational speaker touched on the topic of identity, and “checking in” with oneself. This message was explored through a very emotional and unexpected story from Vanzant, as she shared a particular medical trauma she had experienced when her colon ruptured. Vanzant’s ability to take personal matters and make them apply to the majority is admirable, as she was able to turn a negative situation into a metaphor, which could be relatable to most.

GREETINGS: Iyanla Vanzant takes the stage (image credit: BlackInkPhotos)

Quotes from her latest book, Forgiveness, were shared with the audience, as well as prayerful extracts from her devotional, Trust.

Beyond the emotional and dramatic aspects of the show, the laughs were plentiful. From discussing the topic of intimacy – whether that comes in the form of a man or a particular object – Vanzant’s naturally hilarious energy connected with the audience, making it feel as though you we’re talking to a friend – not just a multi-millionaire life coach.

To wrap-up the session, host Brenda Emmanus returned to the stage to interview Vanzant, with the help of a willing audience who had a chance to put questions directly to the guru; resulting in some heart-rending revelations from attendees that moved many of the audience to tears.

Vanzant told The Voice that if she had the chance, she would tell her 21 year-old self:

"Don't be fooled by appearances. Very often, I've been fooled by appearances. It looked good, I thought it was good. It looked bad, I thought it was bad - y'know, I thought this was the end, when really I didn't know my own strength."

GIRL POWER: BBC presenter Brenda Emmanus, left, with Iyanla Vanzant (image credit: Sandra Smart)

See next week's Voice for further coverage of Iyanla Vanzant's visit to London.

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