Val Angel is a serial entrepreneur with a background in mental health nursing, banking and media and started the online space, Zim Masterchef to celebrate Zimbabwean chefs. A mother of two, she emigrated to the UK at the age of 23.
Rodney Rumbidzai Chawota
How did you settle into life in the diaspora after your move here?
I was lonely at first as I missed the family and friends I had left behind in Zimbabwe. But as time went, I settled down and now have a family of my own and a successful business career.
Tell us about your career and academic achievements.
In 2005 I acquired a BA Honours in Music and Visual Art followed by an MBA in 2009 and a BSc in Psychiatric Nursing in 2014. I’ve also published two research articles, both in 2009 – ‘Antecedents and Consequences of Consumer Confusion in the Financial Services Industry’, and ‘Consumer Choice Process for Impulsive Goods.’
I’ve worked primarily in the financial services with Lloyds Bank and American Express and in the healthcare sector. At American Express I was awarded for contributions that changed practice. My move in 2009 to work in the health sector was a calling for me as I believed God wanted me to work with the sick. I talk about this change in my book, Your Destiny
is in Your Dreams. This is where I found purpose and fulfilment – working with the sick – a big difference from working in the banks, where it was all about stats and figures.
Why Zim Masterchef?
We wanted a platform to showcase Zimbabwean chefs in the diaspora who are underrepresented. We also wanted to showcase African food and show that it can be organic, wholesome and of a high standard.
You’re also a fitness advocate…
After giving birth to my daughter Ava, I was 84kg and needed to shift the weight. It was very hard especially as I couldn’t resist food. When I realised that my health was suffering, I had to do something about it. So, I changed my diet, ditched the takeaways, embraced a low GI diet and started running. I train regularly, not just to keep in shape but to maintain a healthy mind too. I now weigh 66kg.
How do you balance family life and everything else that you do?
I enjoy the hustle of being the producer, psyche practitioner, entrepreneur, fitness influencer and being a mum to Angel, 14 and Ava Marie, 2. I know I have to be careful not to take on too much. I try not to let work spill into time with the kids, dinner and bedtime. Family is important to me. I try to be a good mum but what I’ve learnt (and what I’m still learning) is that all I can do is my best.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I do things I’m passionate about. I love exercising and getting fit so I have just immersed myself in it. I do a lot of charity work but there is still a lot I need to do. I have a passion for the creative industry and at the moment I’m searching for new Zimbabwean talent. Music is one of my passions and I hope to work with rising Zim artists and secure funding for them.
Who would you say are your role models?
Michelle Obama as the first African-American First Lady of our time and Oprah Winfrey as one of the greatest black women in American history.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
It’s impacted the lives of millions of people around the globe, causing extraordinary disruption to the delivery of basic healthcare, economic activity and basic social interactions. That and the lockdown has made me appreciate my family, relatives and close
friends even more.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m working on building an athleisure-focused brand and Val Angel Productions, a film and TV company. The focus will be on building a platform that will accelerate some of the conversations of our generation focusing on mental health conversations. I produced
and directed a documentary called I’m Not Normal, I’m Normal. It’s a short documentary that will show how most people have, had, or will have some mental health problems during their life. It raises awareness of this issue with the subsequent intention of trying
to reduce the stigma associated with this condition.
Follow Val Angel here:
Facebook: Val Angel