Over the past two weeks of communicating with Elsa Majimbo about her Moziak cover feature, I’ve discovered a reserved young lady when even in excitement, remains composed and calm. Very different from her online internet persona that has mesmerised the world, in particular, South Africans, who have gone as far as giving her a South African name, “Mpho”.
Elsa “Mpho” Majimbo is an 18-year-old Kenyan journalism student who literally broke the internet and has been a breath of fresh air disrupting stereotypes about what is cool and trendy.
In an age when everyone is trying to fit in, Elsa is determined to stay authentic to her true self and just do her own thing regardless of popular opinion. She has found her special niche and wouldn’t change anything about herself.
An 18-year-old “internet sensation” in an African home. We can only just imagine the type of conversations that happen in your household. How have your parents responded to your new-found career?
Before I could even tell my parents, someone sent them one of my videos. My dad was so angry because in the video I was telling people if they have my nudes, they should distribute them so that I can be famous and I don’t have to go to school! I tried to explain to my dad that is wasn’t meant to be taken seriously but he wasn’t haven’t it. He just said NO and that I can’t be going on the internet saying things like this. It wasn’t until people started reacting really positively to the video and saying that it was hilarious that my dad understood that people took it as a joke. Since then, I’ve had really great support from my family. They really trust me to do what’s right and have told me to just be happy.
You’ve previously shared that growing up you didn’t have a lot of friends at school because some people would make fun you and that’s how you got started with your videos – that if you made fun of yourself, then when anyone else makes fun of you it won’t get to you.
A) Do you still consider your videos as a copying tool/an avenue to mark your insecurities?
Not exactly, but I do consider my videos a very safe space in which I can be anyone and do anything without boundaries or judgment. With my videos I’m not limited by anyone’s “moral values” or opinions.
B) Do you ever think that one day all of this will get too much, and you will no longer want to poke fun at yourself?
Does one ever get tired of banter with friends? Same case with me.
People have started giving you titles that perhaps you never wanted. Earlier this year you never quite considered yourself a comedian but have since come to embrace that title. Do you feel you’re being boxed with all these labels that people are giving you or are they introducing you to ideas of yourself that you hadn’t considered?
I’ve never called myself a comedian but apparently people find me hilarious and that’s a title that I have been given. I don’t really mind it. Titles people give me don’t really affect me in any way. What I think about myself is all that matters to me. Being labelled as a comedian hasn’t changed the way that I do my videos. I don’t really overthink it therefore I don’t feel boxed by the title. I will always do my videos the way I do them as it’s a form of therapy for me.
I want to get into advertising and marketing as I believe that I’m a really good salesperson and can sell people anything with the most minimal of tools by how I can portray it. Advertising is all about selling! Unfortunately Kenya doesn’t have advertising and marketing degrees so I needed to start with journalism in order to major in advertising and marketing.
Congrats on your MAC deal. How did that come about?
Thank you. They reached out to me in regards to my videos and we started working together. I can’t disclose more about it at this stage.
What other ways are you monetising your brand and social media platform?
Who said anything about monetising my brand? Hahaha. Ok on a serious note, I’m open to collaborating with brands, but I’ll never use my videos as a selling tool to push products etc that don’t currently align with what I’m doing.
Is there a common misconception that people have about you?
That I’ll stop doing my videos.
Share 5 things people would be surprised to know about you?
- I’m a maths genius
- I’m afraid of heights
- I get seasick and car-sick
- I drink lots of water
- I detox a lot
What do you consider to be your biggest highlight to date?
The response I’ve gotten in South Africa. The way I see it, all the other achievements came because of the way South Africans reacted to my videos. You always have to go to the root of what caused your success. I really love South Africans. It’s like they are hell-bent on seeing me succeed.
In 5 years’, what do you hope to be doing?
You always set dreams and goals to what YOU think is the best, and there’s always something BIGGER and BETTER. So, I don’t have any dreams or goals. I’ve just decided that the sky is the limit. I’ve told myself that I can do anything. Dreams and goals are meant to be “realistic” and I don’t want to stay in “reality”. I want to do things that are above and beyond. For example, acting is something that I want to pursue, and I don’t want to say I see myself acting in Hollywood because what if there is something bigger than Hollywood… I don’t want to limit myself with the constructs of dreams and goals.
It’s youth month in South Africa, what message do you have for young people that are looking to carve their own identity?
Always do what feels right and go with your gut. You’re always right because only you know yourself. They’ll always be someone that will appreciate you.
If you had to give words of encouragement to your 13-year-old self, what would you say?
Your peers are purely nonsensical, do your own thing girl!!
What’s next for Elsa Majimbo?
I want to get into acting, I hope to really grow above and beyond my imagination.
We can’t let you go without asking, what’s the story with you and chips?
I have no idea how it started! They taste nice, I’m happy eating them and they put me in a better mood for my videos. So, I just decided to start eating chips every time before I start a video, regardless of whether or not the chips will be in the video. Chips are the only friend I have when making my videos hahahaha…
Elsa Majimbo is our Piece 14 cover star. View her on our very first video cover below.