Author and TV personality Iyanla Vanzant speaks on the release of her new book "Peace From Broken Pieces," her short-lived 2001 talk show, and why her recent controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey was so important.
You recently released your latest book, "Peace From Broken Pieces," in which you shared perhaps your most personal intimate story yet. Was it a healing process for you?
It was in a way, but I actually wanted to write the book because I think it's much-needed information for a time [such] as this. There are so many difficulties in the economy, lifestyles have changed, and people are going through it. I think this book will be relatable to many people. It's a great reminder that no matter how successful you [get], you're not immune to [the realtities of] life.
Take me back to 11 years ago; it was a time when you seemed to have been sitting on top of the world. How have you changed as a person since then?
I don't need to be validated externally. I wasn't aware at the time, but a lot of what I did even for my work was because I was trying to feel a void inside. There was a void of not feeling like I could ever do enough or be enough, a void of never been affirmed as a child or even as a woman. Now, I don't need anyone to feel good about me. I don't need anyone to like me or agree with me. My priority now is to be at peace with myself and feel good about who I am and what I do every single day.
Your talk show "Iyanla" premiered on August 26, 2001, only a few weeks before 9/11 happened. Do you feel like like that time period is when things started to go downhill for you?
I think that 9/11 taught me many lessons and was a very serious wakeup call. I was not doing the kind of television that I had intended to do. The people that I worked with didn't value what I was bringing to the table, and if 9/11 would not had happened, I would have never known that.
Oprah invited you to do her show this year, after the somewhat silent battle between the two of you. Why'd you decide to go on her show?
It was a demonstration of a conversation that had to happen when there's a break down of communication in the relationship. We never dealt with the problem; it took 11 years for us to talk about it. We cleared the air. In our country today, people throw other people away. You shouldn't just throw someone out of your heart and mind if the relationship matters to you.
If given the opportunity to host your own show again, what would you do differently this time?
I'd do my work. My work is about personal growth, personal development, healing and enjoying relationships. I wouldn't do cooking, pets and all that other stuff. I'd concentrate on the things that matter to me.
You've been through so much during the last decade, the death of your daughter, a divorce. What advice can you give to women out there who are going through adversity and feel there's no way out?
I would say to her what the Holy Spirit said to me: Stop being dramatic. Of course, you can make it; you made it this far. Take it one moment a time and do the best you can. Keep affirming what you desire and keep believing that things will turn around, because they will.
After such a successful career, what do you want your legacy to be?
I think I've created my legacy with 16 books that speak [about] life experiences that could crush you if you don't have faith in yourself.