Trichelle Florence '09 "Necessity turned into Purpose and Passion"
By: Brandi Randolph
Trichelle Florence is helping people create healthy lifestyles with her company, The Thick Vegan LLC. When she became a vegan for her health, she realized she could help women go on the same journey. Her company manifested itself through her early childhood experiences and the ones she had at Coppin.
Trichelle was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, but grew up in Richmond, Virginia. She talked about how her family ate unhealthy foods until her mother was diagnosed with diabetes. Trichelle remembers how at ten years old, the change to healthy eating was instantaneous after that. She said that growing up, "my taste buds got used to not eating the traditional fatty foods." These experiences as a young girl were the origins of her complex relationship with food, health, and weight.
Trichelle knew she did not want to stay in Virginia but did not want to be too far away from home. She was accepted to Coppin State University and Morgan State University. The final choice came from what was more affordable and felt more like home. Coppin State University was the best choice for Trichelle after she went through the Summer Academic Success Academy (SASA) the summer before her freshman year. She said she enjoyed that "it was a small-knit school" because she "did not want to go to a big institution," and she met her "lifelong friends." Everything seemed to go the way Trichelle wanted it to until it was not.
Shortly after she started, she gained "the freshman 35," Trichelle joked. This was the first time she was away from home and could eat the foods she could not while growing up. Trichelle recalled how her family noticed and commented that she put on a little bit of weight, and so did her then-boyfriend. He told her, "Look at all that weight you gained; you need to lose weight." She broke up with him and went on to lose 60 pounds. "This is the first time I was working on my health for me," she said. While at Coppin, she did work study to provide for herself and joined Coppin Models. Trichelle received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Life Science in 2009. She chose this major because she's "always been interested in medicine and the sciences," and her goal was to attend medical school. While this was her original plan, sometimes life has other plans for us.
The summer after Trichelle graduated, she discovered she was pregnant with her first child. She began working in banking to provide for them both, and then she worked for the government doing administrative work. Afterward, she met her now husband, who was able to make it so she could work from home to care for their children. While she worked from home, she started her business, The Thick Vegan in 2016.
Thick Vegan, LLC is "a health consulting company that teaches women how to position their bodies to heal naturally," as Trichelle did. After she gave birth to her fourth child, she noticed she began to have various health issues (such as; high blood pressure, pre-diabetic, and the rare condition, pseudo tumor Cerebri). She investigated the root cause of these issues she was experiencing. She noticed that when she started eating holistically and vegan, it helped make the conditions untraceable in her body. Trichelle began to tell her story to others, and women wanted to know how they could do it too. Now they can with Trichelle's help. In the next five to ten years, she sees her business as a "highly known and highly sought-after vegan consultant agency," she continued, "People are more interested in their health and doing it more naturally."
Trichelle says confidently, "Have fun and make lasting friendships. College is about more than just getting your degree." She continued and added, "It's about the growth within."