Elsa Majimbo has been to Dubai many times, but this is her first time as an established Instagram star, with more than 2.3 million followers from around the world, and celebrity fans including Beyonce and Rihanna.
The 19-year-old, who found fame during the coronavirus-imposed lockdowns last year, is currently in the city for a project she’s working on with Dubai Tourism. She tells The National her trip so far has been “breathtaking”.
“I’ve been here for 15 days and I’lll be here for a week more,” she says, adding that Dubai “has a lot of food”.
“[The food] is expensive but [with] top notch facilities. So it makes sense,” she says.
Majimbo attracted fans from around the world last year with her hilarious Instagram monologues, delivered wearing sunglasses with a contagious laugh, followed by a snack of crisps.
Her videos offered much-needed light relief for a world wrecked by anxiety and uncertainty. And they went viral, her fame quickly lead to partnerships with cosmetics brand Mac, dating app Bumble and Rihanna’s Fenty sunglasses among others.
Last month, she announced a collaboration with Italian fashion house Valentino: a book called The Alphabet for Kids & Adults – her “entry into high fashion”.
“It’s not a clothing collaboration, like everyone expects,” she explains in a tongue-in-cheek promotional video, “it’s a book for children and their parents.”
She also hosts a podcast, Bedtime with Elsa, which has featured everyone from record-breaking Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, to British singer Jorja Smith and Canadian comedian Lilly Singh.
The Nairobi-born social media star is also a 15-time chess champion, and collaborated with Netflix in January to release a video titled Is Elsa Majimbo the Real Queen’s Gambit?, a reference to the streaming giant’s popular chess-themed show.
While details of the Dubai Tourism campaign are still under wraps, Majimbo says she’s been eating, attending meetings, working and having fun for the last 15 days in the city.
“Anything I could have done in Dubai … I’ve done it,” she laughs.
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Updated: April 5, 2021 03:04 PM