If you are looking for a female role model in the media profession, look no further than Angelica Nwandu, founder of TSR(The Shade Room) who despite all, triumphed to become the celebrated woman she is.
She started the shade room at the age of 23 in 2014. Fast forward to 2016, Time Magazine recognized her as one of 30 most influential people on the internet. She was also listed under Forbes, ’30 under 30′ list in media.
Angelica Nwandu is the African American woman who disrupted America’s media space, by surpassing big media companies such as E! News and CBS to host about 15million roommates (followers) on Instagram. Instagram was where it all began before she spread across other platforms.
Her story is not a rosy one; rather she has come a long way from a very testy background. Hers is the common story of black Americans and Foster care, violence, abuse, neglect and lack.
According to Angela, her family relocated from Nigeria to America in the 1980s, where she was born. Afterwards she lost her mom to domestic violence and had to grow up in a foster home.
Growing up, Angela revealed she had always wanted to be a poet, writer, accountant and rapper. Her love for writing was nurtured at the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab. She obtained her accounting and human resources degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2012 and soon after got a steady income job, as an accountant.
Quitting her job for entrepreneurship was a big risk and one she was prepared to take. “Me taking a risk for my dreams were part of my personality, who I was and who I was trying to become. I knew that”. She explained to Forbes.
Before settling for TSR, Angela tried her hands at several other businesses including an online clothing boutique which failed. According to her, “I didn’t have the passion to continue on, and therefore it failed”. “I think businesses that survive and get a lot of support are those that have a “why”. I didn’t have a “why”. I only wanted to do it, because I wanted to make money. Making money isn’t enough motivation”.
Speaking on why she pursued The Shade Room despite the ridicule she received, Angela in an interview with Cosmopolitan revealed that writing had always been her therapy. So it wasn’t really a hard decision to make.
The shade room never blossomed overnight. It took time, it took effort, it included burning night candles and it included tears. Nwandu recalls feeling her work was not good enough, enduring ridicule from family, and having to start all from scratch when her account got deleted multiple times and to top it all; there was the challenge of no money.
On what kept her going, she told Forbes, “I can’t even begin to tell you how important it is to have people who believe in you, because the reality is growing up as a black woman who was slightly chubby, grew up in foster care, and from the hood, I had so many people and the society in general, telling me I wasn’t worthy”. Nwandu continued, “In my mind, all odds were against me. If I didn’t have someone pulling out my strengths, recognizing and praising them then I don’t think I would have the mindset to want more for my life”.
Haven succeeded in growing a media company so large and globally recognized, what do you think the young entrepreneur would be up to? Most likely touring the continent and lounging in the Bahamas. But no, Angela is not resting on her oars. She continues to scout for more ways to expand and break barriers in her business. Still speaking with Forbes she said, What keeps me up at night now is to make sure I do the community (those who follow the blog) justice. She says her dream is to create a media empire.
Angela nwandu is a young woman like you and from her story we can highlight a few points that make her the celebrated woman she is today.
Passion: this is your driving force. The little voice inside that tells you, this is what you were made for, this is you.
Risks taking: for every vision to survive you have to be willing to take risk. The choice to start at all is a risk. You have to risk what people will say, you have to risk the fear of failing you have to be willing to risk starting small.
Cheerleader: you should have someone who has got your back, cheering you on, every step of the way and if you have none, step up the plate and be your own cheerleader.
Effort: be willing to do the work. Roll up your sleeves and give it all you have got.
Most importantly the God factor. Remember, he will bless the labor of your hands.
You can be a part of Angela’s community by visiting www.theshaderoom.com.
Are there other key points you noted? Please, do share in the comments section, so we learn from you!
Photo Credit: Sami Drasin for Cosmopolitan