Earlier this year, Coach Stormy Wellington stayed true to her name when she created an uproar on social media. The cause? A clip of the self-help guru admonishing a woman for having a plate full of cookout-style food. Users were quick to bash, laugh at, and recreate the moment, spawning one of the most popular digital phrases of the year: “low vibration.”
So what exactly does the meme mean?
“Everything is an energy. Energy can never be destroyed. It can only be transferred,” Coach Stormy tells ESSENCE. “We don’t realize, unfortunately, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And so vibration means a person’s emotional state.”
The trending video captured a glimpse of a women’s retreat put on by the multi-level marketer.
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A part of Stormy’s services include allowing people to spend time with her and learn from her, which is what she says she was doing in the video watched ‘round the world.
“In the field that I’m in, we cannot be overweight. We cannot be looking crazy. We cannot just do what we want to do,” Stormy says casually. “We were at my woman’s retreat. So it was my responsibility. She gave me the autonomy and the right to speak into her life as her coach.”
For additional context, the field Coach Stormy is referring to is selling nutritional supplements and vitamins for Total Life Changes. She then says the way she spoke to Tammy Price, the woman whose plate was caught in the crosshairs, is how she’d want to be spoken to. “I was just telling her what I would’ve wanted her to tell me. She had already gained 10 pounds. She was complaining about it. Mind you, she lost 85 pounds.”
Stormy, (who at the time of our Zoom was in a pool in Cabo, calling the surrounding scenery “high vibration,”) says she looked down at the woman’s styrofoam plate and determined it was an issue. In fact, it was the issue: a metaphor for the woman’s life, if you will.
“I wonder how many times back home you have allowed people to put things on your plate that’s not yours and that you don’t want?,” she says of her thought process.
Stormy also calls the conversation “personal” and explains that a “little bit of food is a high vibration plate” and reiterates that Price’s plate was low vibration.
Tammy Price says she’s seen the comments about people believing Stormy was belittling her. She doesn’t agree, saying that she understood Stormy’s intention and isn’t ashamed of the exchange. “I just want the world to know nothing about me is humiliated. Nothing about me is embarrassed,” she says. “Matter fact, the money went up, the checks went up because people became aware of how much they were eating,” Price adds. “They became aware of what they were putting in their bodies and they became aware that they needed our nutritional supplements. That’s what we sell.”
Coach Stormy isn’t put off by the backlash, either. In fact, she welcomes it and says the attention brought visibility to the purpose of the video. “That 53 seconds did what I wanted it to do. Even though it came with a lot of controversy, a lot of hate, a lot of negativity, it still has awakened people to now paying attention to that food.”
The mentor maintains that she wasn’t putting her student down, mentioning her own multifaceted nature and unfiltered approach.
“I tell people all the time: I’m a queen and sometimes I’m a hood rat. I keep it real 100. I’m very real. I’m very raw. I’m very bold. I’m very eager in your face. I’m very direct. I’m very tough love. A matter of fact, I’m very ‘what you see is what you get’ all the time. And I think that it’s not a lot of people out there like me.”
She takes a moment to address claims that she’s a scammer as well, telling us, “People don’t understand what I do, and so they say I’m a scammer. I used to scam about 20 years ago. I did, I know exactly what a scam is..I’m not supposed to be a Black girl with a ninth grade education, high school dropout that has coached 37 families. I’m not supposed to have a yacht, paid off homes, corporations, payroll of a $100,000 a month. I ain’t supposed to have that…Scammers don’t pay taxes. Scammers don’t change lives. So I just encourage people to learn to do their research, learn to do their homework to figure things out.”
Stormy and Price first met in 2015, shortly after the former had begun to sell supplements. Price was at a vulnerable point in life: the mother of three was newly divorced, homeless and grieving the loss of her father. At the advice of her ex-husband, she reached out to Coach Stormy, who Price says had recently made “a million dollars in seven months,” and asked her to initiate her into what she sometimes refers to as “the business.”
“She was in a health and wellness company and I seen her speaking to the masses” Price recalls. “After going through the worst part of my life, my dad died and she put me in a business.”
Price has said she then lost 50 pounds in six months and became a spokesperson for Total Life Changes shortly after.
Given the length of time their alliance has spanned and all that Stormy has shared with her, Price again agrees that the conversation captured on video was necessary. “People don’t know coaching, people don’t know mentorship, people don’t know sisterhood. Everybody is uncoachable for real. For me, it was just her talking her regular talk, it’s how we talk. It’s just so happened the cameras were rolling.”
Indeed, it was just another day of Coach Stormy being Coach Stormy.
“That was me talking to my student, loving on my student, having her back, as I should,” she says.