She may not be on the Fortune 500 list — yet, but Angie Nwandu, in her early 30s, is nonetheless and without question on the superhighway to the upper reaches of the digital tycoon heap. She was called “the Oprah of our generation” by Refinery 29, and her superbly named and rapidly expanding Instagram-based media company, The Shade Room, was described in no less than The New York Times as “Instagram’s TMZ.” (For old-time celebrity tea hounds, TSR might also aptly be considered the Perez Hilton of mobile apps.)
The Shade Room whirred into existence on a shoestring budget almost seven years ago, focused primarily on serving up celebrity gossip and, as it grew, homespun commentary on pop culture and politics, primarily within the Black community. The once semi-secret guilty pleasure that is steeped in hot takes and barbed banter has since grown into a bona fide powerhouse with 22.6 million Instagram followers — or “roommates” in TSR parlance — and, according to their 2020 media kit, about four billion impressions per month. That’s right, kiddos, billion! The tea-tossing company’s Twitter and YouTube accounts don’t have nearly as many followers as their Insta account, but The Shade Room Teens, launched in 2019, already has an impressive and growing Instagram follower count of 3.1 million.
No wonder, then, the burgeoning company’s founder has parlayed her preternaturally prescient social media savvy into a substantial upgrade to her residential circumstances in L.A. with the slightly more than $3.4 million purchase of a contemporary villa along a pretty, tree-lined street in the proto-suburban San Fernando Valley community of Sherman Oaks.