I had the delight of watching Romany Romany (so good, they named her twice!) at the end of last year. Her book was on sale afterwards and I very much had to get a copy.
What a character this lady is! Both on stage and off, she is larger than life. A conundrum, yet also an open book, she defies definition. How did such an effervescent personality come to be the magical diva she is today, having performed all over the world and entertained thousands?
Her life story is really quite remarkable. A chubby girl, born in humble circumstances, but with a desire and flair to perform on stage, Romany almost seemed destined to be on the stage from the very first ballet lesson. Alas, not that simple. Her weight was perceived as a problem and this would prove to be her nemesis her whole life. She is open and brutally honest about her eating disorder and yet avoids ever getting heavy even in the darkest of times in her life.
And there we see where Romany the performer and Romany the real person meet. She is a genuinely lovely, bubbly and glass-half-full kind of person. Hope and love are her middle names. Much of this comes from her spiritual beliefs which leads her to believe there is a purpose and a plan that the universe has for you and you simply need to stop trying to grab the wheel; just sit back and let the universe guide.
Such beliefs are not for everyone and this magicienne can come across a little bit away with the fairies at times if you’re sceptical of the spiritual realm. For me, I am sceptical, but I think being off the wall a little is a very healthy thing and I’ve been around the clock enough – and believed some crazy things in my time – to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone. Nevertheless, I think the many spiritual-seekers I have as friends would be quite at home with Romany’s ideas and philosophies.
What I come away with, more than anything, is that Romany is a brave soul with a very innocent heart in many ways. It’s not often you can find someone who has known fame and adulation yet somehow retains that wide-eyed wonder about life and people. There’s nothing brash or obnoxious about here. She’s really quite sweet without, for one minute, suggesting she’s anybody’s fool. It is immensely endearing.
Obviously, this woman is very talented. Less obvious – until you read the book – is how hard she has worked to make that talent seamless and appear natural. Her craft is well-honed and she’s comfortable in her own skin – even with the demons which beset her at times. Romany believes as much in magic as she appears to on stage but works hard behind the scenes as though it doesn’t. The result is a person as well as a performer who is truly magical. You have to admire her for that.
Social Entrepreneur, educationalist, bestselling author and journalist, D K Powell is the author of the bestselling collection of literary short stories “The Old Man on the Beach“. His first book, ‘Sonali’ is a photo-memoir journal of life in Bangladesh and has been highly praised by the Bangladeshi diaspora worldwide. Students learning the Bengali language have also valued the English/Bengali translations on every page. His third book is ‘Try not to Laugh’ and is a guide to memorising, revising and passing exams for students.
Both ‘The Old Man on the Beach’ and ‘Sonali’ are available on Amazon for kindle and paperback. Published by Shopno Sriti Media. The novel,’The Pukur’, was published by Histria Books in 2022.
D K Powell is available to speak at events (see his TEDx talk here) and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, he is available for one-to-one mentoring and runs a course on the psychology of writing. Listen to his life story in interview with the BBC here.
Ken writes for a number of publications around the world. Past reviewer for Paste magazine, The Doughnut, E2D and United Airways and Lancashire Life magazine. Currently reviews for Northern Arts Review. His reviews have been read more than 5.5 million times.