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A day in the life of Instagram vegan chef, Rachel Ama

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Rachel Ama Vegan chef

Rachel Ama is a vegan recipe creator on YouTube and Instagram, and the author of Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats. She lives in north London with her mum and dog.

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

It doesn’t. Two of the four windows in my bedroom don’t have blinds, so I wake up with the sun at about 7.30am. I scroll through my phone – avoiding the news – until my dog Marlee, who’s a cockapoo, wants to get out of the bedroom. Breakfast is boring but reliable: porridge with blueberries, raspberries and banana. Then, I’ll do a home workout since the gym is no longer an option. My personal trainer (@ciaralondon) has been doing live sessions on Instagram since the coronavirus outbreak.

MY COMMUTE IS…

Easy. I walk from my bedroom into my kitchen.

I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

Sharing delicious vegan recipes with my followers on YouTube and Instagram, but also ensuring I’m able to pay my bills this way.

Rachel Ama Cookbook

I GOT THE JOB…

By experimenting with YouTube. I had lots of different jobs before: waitress, delivery driver, assistant. But I always had this entrepreneurial spirit, I just didn’t know what to do with it. My first YouTube video was a vlog in 2017, about the difficulties of cooking vegan food on a trip with non-vegans – it makes me cringe now but I keep it up there for the memory. I started posting a new recipe every week, using my savings to buy a camera and editing equipment, and just figured it out as I went along. Consistency meant my following grew and grew. About eight months into it I got an agent and eventually a book deal, which felt huge.

MY TYPICAL DAY…

Begins at about 10am, when I start to organise myself. My week is usually split into days when I film and create content and days when I take external meetings and calls, but that definitely isn’t happening right now, so I have more of a casual checklist. At first, I didn’t know what to do content-wise. My persona is happy and jolly. Did people still want that? I didn’t want to seem like I was ignoring what’s going on. But the feedback I got was people wanted distraction and to feel good. So, I’ve been doing live Instagram cookalongs with things still available in supermarkets – canned tomatoes and chickpeas, for example, have been almost impossible to find. And posting easy-to-follow recipes, like my spiced apple ‘quarantine cake’. 

Rachel Ama camera

FOR LUNCH…

I’ll eat leftovers. Typically, on filming days, the kitchen is a mess. There’s the sparkling clean, pristine area that’s on camera and stuff everywhere else. Then it’s just me and my tripod for hours and hours. It’s fun because I’m trying new things and tasting dishes for the first time on camera, but it can be tedious, too. So much work goes into a 10-minute video. Shoot days can run as late as 10pm in the summer (I stop when it gets dark outside), but otherwise I try to stick to a normal work schedule, which is key to feeling normal at the moment, and finish about 5.30pm for my own sanity.

WHEN I’M TIRED OR STRESSED I…

Take a break. But that’s easier said than done when you’re on a deadline.

MY GO-TO SNACK AT WORK IS…

An apple, which is basic I know, but I’m not a snacker. I like big meals. 

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MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT…

Was getting my book deal. My agent used to work in publishing, so she really encouraged me to get a proposal together but I honestly didn’t think anyone would be interested, which I know you’re not supposed to say. When I found out publishers actually wanted it, it felt like that moment on The X Factor when someone gets through to the next round. I had always wanted something to make me feel that way: bursting with joy.

MY WORST WORK HABIT IS…

Not stopping. If there’s something that needs to be done then I’ll keep going until it’s finished. I can’t relax otherwise.  

MY EMAIL INBOX…

Is not the best. My system is to forward anything business-related on to my agent and the rest I get to as and when.

AFTER WORK…

I watch my shows: Grey’s Anatomy or Money Heist. I’m a junkie. I usually cook something like a curry or a stew for my mum and I, and we’ll eat together. I stay up editing videos or replying to Instagram and YouTube comments until I force myself to go to bed around 12pm. 

My Plan B: Music Producer

I grew up listening to a lot of neo-soul, funk and hip-hop, and consequently music is something I’m passionate about. I like to think in an alternate universe I’d have studied music production and that maybe I’d be in that industry. 

Images: Holly McGlynn