Kenyan 15-time chess champion, comedian, author, model and Instagram star Elsa Majimbo became an internet sensation at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Her funny videos on various social media platforms propelled her to fame, even attracting the attention of global superstars.
Elsa became famous not only in Kenya but also in South Africa where she is nicknamed Mpho which translates to gift in Tswana language. As much as she loves Kenya and is proud to be from the country, she has stated she prefers living in South Africa. This is because the South Africans support her talent more than Kenyans. In fact, she received a lot of backlash from Kenyans when she was starting out.
Elsa has since grown her horizons beyond Africa, and is making major moves on the global stage. In this article, WoK takes a look at Elsa’s career growth to signing major deals in Hollywood, USA.
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When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Majimbo was a student at Strathmore University in Nairobi. She was forced into quarantine just like many other Kenyans and she began making videos of herself, eating potato crisps, watching TV 12 hours a day, encouraging people to party hard and laughing maniaclly. This earned her millions of followers in a very short time, as many resonated to the home situations brought about by the pandemic.
During an interview with Forbes magazine at the Forbes Top 30 Under 30 summit in Gaborone, Botswana, Elsa revealed that she always knew she’d be a star, what she didn’t know was how and when.
“Growing up, I always knew I would be iconic. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew it would be done,” she said, adding that after she blew up, she dropped out of college.
“When I went viral, the first thing I did was send an email and quit. It was absolutely delusional, but I believed I could succeed. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to be a superstar.”
Her monologues were featured on Comedy Central several times in June 2020, and have been called out and applauded by Lupita Nyong’o, legendary American rapper Snoop Dogg, Joan Smalls, Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, and Cassper Nyovest.
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Legendary American Comedian Steve Harvey and billionaire singer Rihanna are among the superstars that resonated with Elsa’s comic videos. In January 2022, Majimbo appeared on Steve on Watch, a Facebook web TV talk show hosted by Steve Harvey where she talked about her life and more specifically her career in comedy.
She relocated to Los Angeles in 2021 and now resides in a new home in West Hollywood. She moved to the US to pursue a career of comedic greatness, complete with endorsement deals like the ones she has with Fenty Beauty which is owned by Rihanna. In her ambassadorial role with Fenty, she showcases the brand’s glasses in every shade.
She also signed ambassadorial deals with MAC Cosmetics, and Logitech.
Elsa has since bagged a Teen Vogue cover, a Maison Valentino campaign, a documentary. The short documentary Elsa, directed by Julia Jansch, will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival.
On June 15, 2022, she signed with IMG Models and WME.
IMG Models will look to build Majimbo’s portfolio of work through global editorial coverage and fashion, beauty and lifestyle endorsements. And WME said it will amplify her voice, which in part comes through the megaphone of around 2.5 million Instagram followers, in non-scripted, scripted TV, film, speaking engagements and books.
“Joining IMG Models and WME makes sense, because it’s only natural for icons to work together,” Elsa said in a statement.
She won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite African Social Star in 2020.
Other awards include; a Harvard Vanguard Trophy, a YouTube Streamy, a Forbes Entertainer Award and the GQ Entertainer of the Year Award.
Majimbo continues to be represented by Mohamed Kheir at Objectively Good Management and Granderson Des Rochers.