Oprah came to the BB&T Center to teach, to share and bring awareness of wellness for the new year! The tour sponsored by WW, formerly Weight Watchers, plays a big role from treat samples to offers for joining up. The Vision 2020 tour is so much more than about WW. There is motivation, meditation and just having a good time and enjoying yourself!
Upon entering the BB&T Center, there were wellness stations around the concourse from taking your photo with a life size Oprah to getting a hand massage with lavender Vaseline lotion, a sponsor of the tour. Arriving to your seat, every one of the 15,000 people attending received a tote bag with a workbook, pen and samples including shampoo, Vaseline lotion and WW snacks. Opening the morning was the energetic song & dance troupe “Daybreaker”, which got everyone dancing and singing along to pop tunes.
Oprah took the stage around 10 am after a short video package of her career. She shared the famous struggles of her years of weight issues. She led the crowd through answering the questions in the workbook about where you are at in your life mentally, physically and spiritually. She walked down into the audience to ask people their responses including Ft Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and her bestie CBS Morning Show anchor Gayle King. She took a selfie with a woman who was celebrating a birthday but kept everyone in line by keeping with her role as teacher, “Let’s get back to work now class!” Next up came meditation guru, Jesse Israel, who led the audience in meditation and it was amazing to have absolute silence in an arena of 15,000, but he made it work! If a cell phone went off, I never heard it!
At 12:15, Oprah called for lunchtime which was also provided. Box lunch from Panera Bread included a choice of sandwich or salad, chips, apple and bottled water. It was pretty well-organized and there was time to look around at merch or WW plans and cookbooks. Starting again at 1:30 pm, Oprah introduced dancer/actress Julianne Hough to lead the audience in her KINRGY Movement Experience. Julianne took everyone, including Oprah, on her ride of high energy and to see the entire arena with hands in the air was fun to watch.
There was a salute to Jean Nidetch, the founder of original Weight Watchers with the current CEO of WW Mindy Grossman, ranked in the 100 Most Powerful Women in Business by Forbes Magazine. Mindy & Oprah brought out one of their inspirational members of WW, gospel singer Tamela Mann. Ms. Mann, named one of Billboard’s Top Gospel singers for this decade, has lost 50 pounds with the help of WW. She sang one of Oprah’s favorite songs, “Take Me to the King”, which was an absolute showstopper!
Next was the special guest everyone was waiting for – Lady Gaga! Dressed in black with bright pink hair, Gaga’s “Little Monsters” were in attendance and she received a rousing welcome. Gaga took a serious tone to discuss her own mental health issues and helping others. Her Born This Way Foundation helps inspire youth and build healthier communities. Gaga’s discussion about being raped, having a breakdown, PTSD and being on medication was gut-wrenchingly honest and vulnerable. Clearly the audience and Oprah were moved by these public admissions in order to help others. A great, first guest to kick off the tour! Oprah concluded the day with a chat about being healthy and living your vision in 2020!
I think I could say from listening to everyone on the way out that it was a great way to start the first Saturday in 2020! Be sure and check out www.oprahmag.com for info on the tour dates and guests.
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post