Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant Headshot

Motivational Speaker • Personality • Writer • Lawyer

Iyanla Vanzant is an American author, motivational speaker, and TV personality born on September 13, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. Born Rhonda Eva Harris in the back of a taxi to an alcoholic mother, Vanzant had a difficult early life. Her mother died when Vanzant was two years old, and she was sent to live with an uncle, who raped her when she was nine. She had her first child, Damon, when she was 16 with her first husband. Vanzant married her second husband, Charles Vanzant, in 1973, with whom she had two children, Gemmia and Nisa. Charles was abusive, however, and Iyanla divorced him in 1979, taking her children with her. Vanzant graduated from Medgar Evers College in 1983, and the same year, she was initiated and ordained in the Yoruba tradition. She was given the name Iyanla, which means "great mother." Vanzant then attended Queens College, earning a law degree in 1986 and working at a Philadelphia law firm before publishing her first book, Tapping the Power Within: A Path to Self Empowerment for Black Women.

The rest of her career was essentially based on spiritual leadership and helping others overcome difficulties. Vanzant married her third husband, Adeyemi Bandele, in 1997. The next year, she began a run of 20 appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (Syndication, 1986-2011) throughout 1998 and 1999. Vanzant hosted a short-lived talk show, "Iyanla" (2011-02) before her daughter Gemmia died at age 30 in 2003. She served as a life coach on the reality series "Starting Over" (Syndication, 2004-06), which was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Series each year from 2005 to 2007, winning in 2005. Vanzant made a brief acting appearance in "The Last Stand" (2006), which featured an up-and-coming Kevin Hart. Vanzant and Bandele divorced in 2007.

Vanzant returned to collaborating with Winfrey in 2011, serving as a life class teacher on "Oprah's Lifeclass" (Oprah Winfrey Network, 2011-14). She then hosted her own reality series, "Iyanla: Fix My Life" (Oprah Winfrey Network, 2012- ), in which she helps people overcome difficult events in their lives. Vanzant appeared as herself in the film "Girls Trip" (2017) and on the TV series "Jane the Virgin" (The CW, 2014- ) and "Greenleaf" (Oprah Winfrey Network, 2016- ).

Credits

The Pulse With Bill Anderson

Guest
Show
2022

Wake Up Beautiful With Valerie - Shades of Beautiful

Guest
Show
2022

Shades of Beautiful - Gift Edition

Guest
Show
2021

Shades of Beautiful

Guest
Show
2021

Shades of Beautiful Premiere featuring Mented

Guest
Show
2021

Worth a Conversation With Jeezy

Guest
Show
2020

Fresh Beauty Finds with Helen

Guest
Show
2020

Wake up Beautiful With Valerie - Birthday Celebration

Guest
Show
2020

GMA3: What You Need to Know

Guest
Show
2020

Fear Not with Iyanla VanzantStream

Host
Reality
2020

Wake Up Beautiful With Valerie

Guest
Show
2020

Lunch Rush Gift Edition With Michelle Yarn

Guest
Show
2019

Access Daily

Guest
Show
2019

Tamron HallStream

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Talk
2019

Today With Hoda & Jenna

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Show
2019

Today's Special Early Launch

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Show
2018

The Best of Tavis Smiley

Guest
Show
2018

Sister Circle

Guest
Talk
2017

News One Now: 2016 Election Night Watch Party

Guest
Show
2016

Harry

Guest
Talk
2016

The Boris & Nicole Show

Guest
Show
2015

Beauty Gifts Under $50

Guest
Show
2014

The Real

Guest
Talk
2013

The Moses Code

Actor
Show
2013

Iyanla, Fix My Life Recharged

Host
Show
2012

Anderson Live

Host
Show
2012

Steve Harvey

Guest
Talk
2012

The Best of the Oprah Show

Guest
Show
2012

Iyanla, Fix My LifeStream

Executive Producer
Reality
2012

Iyanla, Fix My LifeStream

Host
Reality
2012

Beauty Report With Amy Morrison

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Show
2012

CBS This Morning: Saturday

Guest
Show
2012

Super Soul SundayStream

Guest
Talk
2011

Dish Nation

Guest
Talk
2011

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

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Show
2010

The Mo'Nique Show

Actor
Show
2009

The Dr. Oz Show

Guest
Talk
2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

Guest
Talk
2009

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

The Better Show

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Show
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

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Talk
2006

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

Iyanla

Host
Show
2001

The Chris Rock ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1996

MoeshaStream

Guest Star
Series
1996

The Oprah Winfrey ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1986

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

News aboutIyanla Vanzant