In America, first you get the viral hit, then you get the temporary public attention, then you get the money.
The Chewbacca Mom‘s whirlwind ride through the public conscious has definitely been one for the ages; one that’s almost gone so far as to totally redefine what it means to be a viral star.
The casual 141 million-odd views on Candace Payne‘s joyous Facebook Live unboxing of a toy Chewbacca mask has been parlayed into appearances on various late night TV talk shows, visits to Facebook HQ, and as it turns out, a shitload of cash.
In fact, Payne’s managed to rake in some $420,000 worth of cash and gifts in the mere matter of weeks since her video hit the internet on May 19th.
The gifts Payne has received are where this whole saga gets even weirder. Time Magazine‘s Money vertical broke down her earnings, and the sources are something else.
The near-half million figure includes $3,000 worth of gift cards from US department store Kohl’s, who got a tonne of free publicity from her OG video. Elsewhere, the dollars were accumulated through VIP trips to visit late night talk shows like ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden,’ and an all-expenses paid family trip to Walt Disney World.
The weirdest, and easily most valuable gift, however, came in the form of full college scholarships to Christian institution Southeastern University for herself, her husband, and her two children.
Southeastern, which is a “Christ-centred institution of higher learning,” gifted the extraordinarily valuable scholarships to Payne and her family after she did a filmed tour of their campus with trademark Chewie mask in hand. Money estimates that, should all four members of the family take up the scholarships, that particular gift would run to an ultimate total of some $400,000.
And if you looked at all that shit and thought we weren’t quite through the looking glass enough as is, here’s this straight-up Kafkaesque image from the recent Fan Expo in Dallas.
Just putting this up here without comment. pic.twitter.com/gCh2xntGb9
— Scott Chitwood (@Red5Aggie) June 3, 2016
Chewbacca Mom. Side-by-side with John Cusack. The male Molly Ringwald.
And yes, she was charging for autographs. $20 a pop, if you can believe that.
Before you flip the nearest table, it should be noted that *part* of the money raised from that particular endeavour was going to charity. The Oaks Fellowship “All-In” Christian ministry initiative, to be exact.
Per their website, the group has been blessed by God with “with a series of record-breaking years in missions giving, church planting, community engagement and ministry in our church,” and that God has “given The Oaks a vision for the next two years to take our vision of “Growing Generations that Transform Communities” to unprecedented heights. The vision is so big that it’s going to take all of us to pull it off; we have to be ALL IN. ALL IN is an all-out effort to make an even deeper impact than we’ve ever made before. It’s an opportunity to reach more people; impact more lives and do more for His Kingdom.“
If any of you can figure out whatever the living fuck any of that’s actually supposed to mean in terms of charitable implications, you’re a sharper mind than I.
Photo: Josiah Kamau/Getty.