Business manager

Slutty Vegan’s Commercial Director Launches Mental Health Platform, “Smile Heaux”

“I had so much success but I was not happy at all.”

Chances are you’ve heard of the hugely popular vegan convenience food brand Slutty Vegan. What you probably didn’t know is that it was mainly because of Angel Barnwell that their social media manager became their business manager.

Yet despite joining the team in 2018 and growing up alongside the successful brand, she said she doesn’t feel the self-love.

“High-level depression is real – I’ve had this,” Barnwell shared with Essence.

Her on-and-off therapy journey began in 2007 following a traumatic experience of childhood sexual assault, which resulted in unresolved trauma that manifested in detrimental ways later in life.

“I went to a therapist at the time that didn’t work out because of cultural differences, so I kind of turned away from it,” a decision she says she regretted years later when her depression took hold. reached its climax.

“I took the sessions seriously a few years later when I had much better confidence and was able to control the therapist selection process much more – the therapist I have now changed my life.”

This turning point in her life sparked a desire to spread love, and she decided to create her wellness brand Smile Heaux to raise awareness about mental health care in the black community.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t prioritize my mindset first,” she said.

The pithy name of the brand comes from something friends and family said to each other in an effort to lift their spirits.

“We all have a great sense of humor and we often tell each other joking things, just for fun,” she explained. “So if one of us is tired or sad, we’ll say ‘smile, him,’ and that’ll instantly make people laugh.”

Smile Heaux is currently offering branded apparel, with proceeds going to fund mental health resources for underserved communities that need it most.

“My plan is to sponsor therapy sessions for anyone who wants help but can’t afford it, because I know how life-changing it can be. I just want to help people smile.