Angelica Nwandu, 25, Los Angeles
Founder and President, The Shade Room, @theshaderoominc
When digital media maven Angelica Nwandu launched The Shade Room in March of 2014, her goal was to create a digital platform where social media users could receive their hourly dose of trendy, buzzworthy stories and celebrity gossip in real time.
Never did she imagine that her startup idea would develop into one of the world's most popular Instagram accounts, spawning over 3.3 million followers in less than two years and named "The TMZ of the Internet" by the New York Times.
"I had no idea The Shade Room would gain so much momentum in such a small frame of time," said Angelica, also a grad of Loyola Marymount University. "It's not easy, you have to be very entertaining and you have to utilize distinctive tactics to hold people's attention."
The young entrepreneur's secret to success was to purposely not follow the traditional blogging format. "Instead of building content on our website first—like most bloggers do—I started publishing full-length stories directly to Instagram, around the clock," Angelica said. "It was a great form of free advertisement and marketing that massively helped bring our accounts to new metrical heights."
This approach made it easier for Angelica and her small staff of 11 to build partnerships with other established brands. Their cache has grown to the point where it's now a proven space for celebrities such as Amber Rose and The Game to candidly respond to rumors or reach out with exclusive news.
THREE HASHTAGS THAT SUM ME UP: #downtoearth #creativemind #hardknocklife
FAVORITE CONCERT: Without a doubt, Beyonce when she did "On the Run Tour" with Jay. She's the total package live. I've never seen anyone outperform her.
COOLEST CELEB ENCOUNTER: Chris Brown always shows so much love whenever I see him and of course, The First Lady, Michelle Obama
MY DAILY READ: "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne
FAVORITE ALBUM: 2Pac's "2Pacalypse Now"