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Angelica Nwandu is the founder of The Shade Room, an Instagram-based media empire reaching over 30+ Million active followers (“Roommates”) and a highly-engaged website. Founded in 2014, The Shade Room (TSR) is anchored on celebrating Black culture and entertainment, but transcends all celebrity news and society. Serving viral posts daily, Angelica and her company offer a range of content from breaking headlines, exclusives and feel-good posts (TSR Positive Images, Morning Inspiration, Daddy Duties [showing men that are spending time with their children], etc.) for an unmatched balance of entertainment and enlightenment.

Nwandu, named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list and called, “the Oprah of our generation,” by Refinery29, is enlightened herself. She is open about her spirituality and often refers to a scripture in the Bible that helped carry her through TSR’s early stage, specifically, a section that advises to not despise small beginnings. When TSR launched in 2014, Nwandu was at home posting celebrity gossip on Instagram while her friends went off to grad school. If her Nigerian family had it their way, Nwandu would be a successful accountant, but she ultimately chose purpose over a paycheck.

Nwandu turned to Instagram to launch TSR, because she personally could not build a website and did not want to wait to start pursuing her vision. With a single VC investment, she bootstrapped TSR, which she grew to 100K followers (“Roommates”) within weeks. Today, companies like GMC, McDonald’s and CoverGirl are all partnering with TSR to capture the community’s influence and engagement.

In addition to helming one of the most successful and culturally relevant media companies to-date, Nwandu is cultivating a career in “traditional” Hollywood as a writer and producer. She started her journey in Hollywood with a fortuitous opportunity to read a poem called ‘Behind Bulletproof Glass’ at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. When she got off stage, Michelle Satter (Sundance’s founding director) immediately approached Nwandu to give her a $5,000 grant to write. This grant has turned into award winning pieces from Nwandu, who is now in development with major Hollywood production companies and premium cable networks on original, linear content.

Nwandu currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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