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Getting To Know Angelica Malin: The Editor, Journalist And Entrepreneur Refocusing us On Female Empowerment And How To Embrace Singlehood

Ahead of our Instagram live on Tuesday with writer and editor Shon Faye and British Vogue columnist Annie Lord, we caught up with our event’s host Angelia Malin, the editor of Unattached: Essays on Singlehood.

Unattached explores the nuances of being single today through the voices of thirty women; with personal essays reflecting both the ongoing challenges and unexpected perks of going it alone. As the founder and editor-in-chief of About Time, one of the UK’s leading lifestyle magazines, and an ambitious entrepreneur, Angelica is passionate about a host of elements close to our hearts – from singlehood and friendship to female empowerment. We sat down to discuss the inspiration behind her latest book, the shifting perspectives of being single and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur as a woman today.

Angelica, could you start by introducing yourself to our readers and telling us a little bit about your background and work?

I’m a journalist and I own a lifestyle magazine called About Time which I’ve run for about 10 years. Alongside that I write and have published a book on female entrepreneurship, which came out last January. Unattached is my second book.

You recently curated Unattached: Essays on Singlehood; a book that explores the nuances of being single today through the voices of a multitude of people. Can you tell us about how this idea came to light and why you felt it was important to explore?

Just before the pandemic I came out of my five year relationship and it was the first time I’ve been single in my adult life for as long as I can remember. I guess I’d been jumping between relationships from the age of 16 and not spending an awful lot of time on my own. I realised that there was a bit of fear there, so it was something I just wanted to explore.

I think it’s something that a lot of people find difficult – owning that single space and seeing it as something that can be celebrated. We often view it as something that needs to be fixed and there can be stigma around being single as you get older. There’s often a sense of panic. I wanted to create something that was empowering and this was just the kind of book I needed to read at the time.

How did you manage the process of curating this and decide who to reach out to?

It was important for the book to include lots of different vantage points because I think being single in your early 20s is very different from being single in your 30s, 40s and so on. It’s also different if you have children or are coming out of a marriage. I wanted to get a broad range of voices so the book could speak to different people at different life stages. I reached out to writers who’d explored break-ups and heartache, as well as people I follow on social media and those whose writing styles I liked. We reached out to a few celebrities and public figures too – it was a real mixture.

“I wanted to get a broad range of voices so the book could speak to different people at different life stages.”

What did you learn about the different perspectives of being single through this process?

One of the big takeaways was that being single is a journey. I don’t think you’ll always arrive at a destination where you think ‘I’m suddenly good at this and being on my own.’ It’s not always easy and there needs to be a bit more vulnerability in the process. One of the things for me has been very transformative in my relationship with being single is having more of a community of friends and other women that are single – I found so much joy, comfort and solace in those relationships.

That leads well to our next question…What advice would you give to people who have recently come out of a relationship and are just starting to get used to being single?

Find a single group and invest in friends around you in the same boat that you can connect with. With friendships, you go through different seasons. I found that all of a sudden a lot of my friends were getting married and having babies but I felt in a totally different stage. That can be quite isolating and I think we need to continue to make new friends as we get older. The other thing I’d say is if you are newly single, it’s always going to be hard at first. Yet it’s important to sit with that for a while and consider what’s happening. If you don’t like spending time alone, or feel you need the reassurance of someone else, this could be the time to consider why. Reflective practices, yoga and journaling were all helpful for me too.

That leads well to our next question…What advice would you give to people who have recently come out of a relationship and are just starting to get used to being single?

Find a single group and invest in friends around you in the same boat that you can connect with. With friendships, you go through different seasons. I found that all of a sudden a lot of my friends were getting married and having babies but I felt in a totally different stage. That can be quite isolating and I think we need to continue to make new friends as we get older. The other thing I’d say is if you are newly single, it’s always going to be hard at first. Yet it’s important to sit with that for a while and consider what’s happening. If you don’t like spending time alone, or feel you need the reassurance of someone else, this could be the time to consider why. Reflective practices, yoga and journaling were all helpful for me too.

Have you noticed shifts in how we think and talk about being single over the years? If so, how?

Definitely. Even this Valentine’s Day for example, there was more conversation around single positivity than I’d ever seen before. I think as our careers become more nonlinear and we don’t have the same 9-5 routines as the generations before us, there’s a similar shift happening in our personal lives. We’re more understanding that there’s different stories and different timelines for people, as well as a celebration of individual desires. People seem to have more open, nuanced conversations about the concept of time and whether they want children too.

“We’re more understanding that there’s different stories and different timelines for people, as well as a celebration of individual desires.”

You’re the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the lifestyle magazine About Time. Can you tell us more about how this began and the inspiration behind it?

About Time is a lifestyle magazine and working for myself was kind of the only option. When I left university, there weren’t very many jobs open, so I started doing my own thing. It started as a portfolio for content really and I thought after a few months I would get another job but years later, I’m still running it. I built my team around me and I’d say I’m an accidental entrepreneur. When I was at school business and entrepreneurship were not things that were talked about very much, especially amongst women, and it was a surprise to myself that I ended up as an entrepreneur. I’ve seen a shift in recent years though of people celebrating female entrepreneurs, which is why I wanted to write my first book.

And can you tell us about your #SheStartedIt podcast & #SheStartedIt LIVE festivals?

The podcast is a celebration of different female founders and their stories, whilst also challenging men to be more vulnerable. It came about as I noticed whilst at events and women were often asking questions about confidence and how to build resilience. There were a lot of the same anxieties about starting businesses and changing careers, so the podcast speakers address how to build confidence and take advice from other female founders who’ve been there. The festival is also a celebration of female entrepreneurship and empowerment. A lot of people like that face to face contact and it allows more access to mentorship opportunities – as from my experience, finding a mentor can actually be very difficult.

What does female empowerment mean to you and why is it so important?

Female empowerment is important for the progress of mankind – it’s vital for everyone. Whilst recently exploring international diversity, I’ve been encouraged to see how many men are waking up to this and taking more interest in how we empower women in different organisations. A lot of events I used to go to would only have women in the room but how can anything be solved by messaging that these issues are women’s issues alone? We’re not going to feel as empowered when we’re the only ones in the conversation.

I think it’s just important for life choices as well because the more empowered we feel in our personal lives has such an impact. We often talk about empowerment in the professional capacity; in terms of the gender pay gap, career progression and entrepreneurship. Yet you’ll often find that at home people can be really insecure about other things, whilst they’re confident when it comes to work. I think it’s important to look at empowerment as a whole as there are so many areas to be addressed.

“I think it’s important to look at empowerment as a whole as there are so many areas to be addressed.”

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced being a female founder and business woman?

Luckily, I’ve found a lot of doors opened because I am a female founder – perhaps that’s due to timing. I’ve had some challenges whilst doing events where I felt like I was the only woman on panels but I think more so, age was a challenge for me. I started out so young with About Time and sometimes it was hard to be taken seriously. For the first few years when I’d go to things I felt patronised in certain environments but there were times when people wanted to support me and help me out because of my age too.

What would your main advice be for women looking to launch their own business or go it alone?

Confidence in a concept is vital as a starting point and believing what you’re trying to do is 100% viable. Do your market research and have a clear idea of what the business is about, as well as how it’s going to make money. Your support network is also so important. There were lots of times that I wanted to give up g but having other female founders to turn to was really important for me. Try to put yourself in the room and find people to connect with who are on a similar journey. I have friends that I work with a lot who are also self-employed. I think that’s been very, really helpful.

Did you always want to work across a variety of mediums, or has that been more of an organic evolution that wasn’t always the plan?

Look I’ve honestly never had a plan, ever! I really want to celebrate that a bit more because I’ve actually enjoyed it. I was never a ‘five year plan’ person. I think sometimes it’s good to be reactive and take opportunities when they arise.

Which books have had a lasting impact on you? Or have you enjoyed recently?

Conversations on Love: Lovers, Strangers, Parents, Friends, Endings, Beginnings by Natasha Lunn and I’ve been reading a lot of Taylor Jenkins lately.

“ I think sometimes it’s good to be reactive and take opportunities when they arise.”

And what’s next for you Angelica?

I’ve got a new season of the podcast out in April and I’m working on a book about doing your own PR, which will be out in November.

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