04 May 2016
VALERIA UPCHURCH, known by many as Val Angel, is making an impression difficult to ignore.
Born in Zimbabwe but now living in the UK, the multi-talented Val Angel has too much on her hands.
And she will not let go of most of it anytime soon, it seems.
In a few days time she will celebrate her 40th birthday but her physical appearance is giving away little.
Rather, what she has mastered so far is testimony of a long road travelled and time well spent.
She was born Valeria Machinjike, and her marital name is Valeria Upchurch. She is a business consultant, analyst, fashionista, Cinematographer, CEO and founder of Val Angel Productions, Fashion designer, blogger, Psychiatric nurse by profession, an author and catering enthusiast.
â€œWhen I wake up I plan my day, I pray first to commit my day to God then I write only three goals and objectives that I want to achieve on the day. I always make sure they are achievable, measurable and more importantly, realistic,â€ Val Angel says.
She makes it sound so simple. But it is far from that. Hers is a complex lifestyle that would leave many in awe.
Val Angel has researched and written two articles. One is on “Antecedents and Consequences of Consumer Confusion in the Financial Services Industry”, Nantes France (2009) while the other is on “consumer choice process for impulsive goods”, Leeds, UK (2009).
â€œI did a Masters degree in Business management. Iâ€™m a business analyst and consultant. I worked for big banks such as Lloyds Bank and World class bank called American Express. I have shared my innovation with American Express of which some of my ideas were implemented. So that is my business background,â€ she says.
That is Val Angel and it does not end there.
She recently produced and directed a documentary called â€œIâ€™m not normal, Iâ€™m normalâ€.
â€œThis is a short documentary that intends to show how most people in todayâ€™s society, have, had, or will have, some mental health problems during their life. It will raise the awareness of this issue with the subsequent intention of trying to reduce the stigma associated with this â€˜condition,â€ she says.
Her knowledge of health issues and ability to direct a film to put across the message is stunning.
The format will focus on a chat show where the host interviews three individuals who categorically believe they have never had any mental health issues.
Through subtle questioning, more is revealed.
Val Angel says the goal is to make people more aware of how common mental health disease is in our daily lives.
â€œMost seem embarrassed or awkward around the subject and how it should not be hidden away but exposed and accepted more as a factor of our society,â€ she says.
The documentary is a product of Val Angelâ€™s background as a Psychiatric nurse and a media Practitioner.
â€œBeing a Psychiatric nurse by profession is a calling and film is a real passion and that is why I had to start Val Productions,â€ she says.
â€œMy film is to raise an awareness in Mental health.â€
Val Angel Productions does not exist in isolation. It will be incomplete without Val Angel Clothing
â€œI’m a designer, stylist, tailor and fashionista,â€ she says.
â€œI draw inspiration from my peers. I also love fashion. I’m extremely passionate about empowering women to feel beautiful, fabulous, elegant and confident.
â€œI attend fashion shows, prediction fairs and exhibitions, I travel a lot these days networking and supporting other women of purpose. I have my own fashion show coming up on the 29th October 2016 for women in Fashion Eleganza (WIFE).â€
But how does Val Angel manage all that?
â€œIf I’m working, I’ll go to the office and do my 9-5 job but recently I became self employed so I work whenever I want to work.
â€œI might do consultancy work for a client or I might work for an agency
I also have school runs daily because I’m a mum.â€
Before the fashion show in October, Val Angel will host the Zimbabwe Masterchef on the 30July 2016 with her partners.
â€œI’m creating a platform to showcase Zimbabwean chefs in UK. Promoting talent within the catering industry,â€ she says.
And if you keep on asking, chances are high she will give you another project from another world.
She is extraordinary.
Her routines can easily distance her from lifeâ€™s realities. But that has not been the case for a mother of a beautiful daughter.
She is up to date too.
â€œOne of the reasons I created the platform WIFE was to help motivate and empower women and encourage them to share what to wear on a date with the partner, family, when going for a girlsâ€™ night out, baby shower, concerts etcetera. WIFEâ€™s help their peers and share information as to where they are getting their latest trends from,â€ she says. “I believe we are in an era where every woman looks elegant.”
As she explains, you can feel the passion and energy behind this Angel-like being.
She was not far-fetched when she selected a title for her latest documentary, â€œIâ€™m not normal, Iâ€™m normalâ€.
On another day you can decide, she is not normal.