This week, the internet was puzzled and amused by a viral video taken during a meal at a women’s retreat. In the clip, two women are discussing the relative merits of differing plates of barbecue food.
On the right is Stormy Wellington, a wealth coach with 1.4 million Instagram followers who charges up to $10,000 for her weekend workshops. Holding a plate with a piece of corn and two chicken wings, she tells friend, mentee, and business partner Tammy Price that the plate she had accepted — stacked with mashed potatoes, a sandwich and a hot dog — is “low vibration.” She elaborates that while Price’s plate looks suitable for a “hood rat,” her own is fit for “royalty.”
The strange lesson became an instant meme, and the jokes about feasting on “low vibration plates” were bountiful. All in all, the consensus was that it’s kind of weird for to judge another person’s meal as inferior — particularly when you’re eating the same food, and, as Price says in the clip, the plate was served that way.
In between posts celebrating our freedom to pile on the meats and sides, some criticized Wellington for her coaching style and principles. Quoting her characterization of the offending plate, actress Keke Palmer quipped on Twitter, “Guess I’m a ‘hood rat.’”
Price, for her part, defended Wellington’s lecture, saying the two are close friends and that Wellington mentored her from the point of homelessness to living in a $1.2 million house. She’s now an entrepreneur and inspirational speaker.
Reached for comment by Rolling Stone, Wellington answered questions through an assistant. It was clear she hadn’t softened her view of low vibration plates.
“People have become more conscious about what they put in their mouth because if you really pay attention to the video, that plate did not represent who Tammy and I are as leaders and top earners in our health and wellness company,” Wellington says. (The two women sell supplements for Total Life Changes, a multi-level marketing brand.) “So we have people going on diets and changing their habits all from that video. And we also have people threatening me… I’m good with the good and bad.”
In any event, the virality appears to have been a boon for Wellington. “I’ve learned that this type of delivery gets a lot of attention,” she says. “I’m learning how to deliver messages like this all the time because I am willing to go through the crucifixion to get the message across.”
But what is a low vibration plate, exactly? On that topic, Wellington — who specifies that she’s a wealth coach, not a life coach — goes into more detail.
“Foods carry energy,” she says. “We are what we eat and when you have a plate of food that looks like it’s for [two to three] people, that’s excessive eating, it’s gluttony. That’s low vibration. It was the amount of food on her plate that was low vibration. Remember overeating is called gluttony (Deuteronomy 21:20). The way the plate was prepared and the lack of neatness of the plate was low vibration.”
That Wellington didn’t just say plate was overcrowded and messy, or that Price was eating too much — again, not typically objections raised at a casual backyard cookout — is no doubt a reflection of her personal brand: as a coach and mentor, she laces her commentary with a kind of higher wisdom. And this conversation was about upholding a certain image for the business partners. Of Price, Wellington says, “I’ve had her back from the beginning and I will have her back to the end,” but that “Tammy and I cannot represent health and wellness and not look like it.”
As for the backlash, Wellington isn’t concerned, noting that “negative news travels faster than positive.” Her email response to Rolling Stone included a lengthy mantra that repeatedly states: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” She maintains that the video has inspired viewers to start dieting or go vegan. Sharing the low vibration plate discussion on her TikTok, she wrote that it had “ruffled some feathers.” On her Instagram, meanwhile, she promoted a “High Vibration” fitness challenge — presumably the antidote to the spiritual morass of a low vibration plate.
Whether Wellington comes away from the controversy with a larger following, or a band of haters ready to turn her next curious coinage into another mocking meme, remains to be seen. Maybe she’ll get both! Either way, many of us will never look at paper plates of burgers and chicken wings the same. After serving ourselves, we may have to pause and ask what kind of vibrations we’ve manifested. But we’ll laugh it off and dig in, because hey, we’re hungry — and it’s really not that deep.