Unless you’ve been on a media-free diet recently, it’s more than likely that you know who Candace Payne is. Better known as the ‘Chewbacca Mum’, Payne went viral with a video she posted on Facebook of herself wearing a Chewbacca mask.
Her infectious laugh and the pure joy of the video took it from 1,000 views (when Payne went to sleep, after posting the clip) to more than 20 million the next day.
After buying the mask at Kohl’s, the Texas mum of two filmed herself putting it on in her car. Not only did she not expect the 20 million hits the video would have gotten the following day, but she certainly never anticipated it reaching well over 100 million views.
To date, the video has racked up 141 million views, making it the most watched Facebook Live video ever!
She told Good Morning America, “So I thought, I’m going to share this with my Facebook friends and family, and if anybody wants to see it, they’re going to have to see it now. And I’m going to document. This was mine to begin with. This was never theirs.”
But, don’t count Payne out as being a one-hit wonder. Her sudden stardom has taken on a life of its own, with appearances on major U.S. talk shows. Not to mention, that sales of the electronic Chewbacca mask have skyrocketed.
When Payne stopped by “The Late Late Show” to see James Corden her social media fame rose even higher. The mum sat in the driver’s seat, putting the mask on with Corden – as a surprise visit from director J.J. Abrams brought the clip to an all-out laugh riot.
Payne was also invited to stop by Facebook’s headquarters, where she had another ‘surprise’ visit. This time her it was Chewbacca himself who had come to see her. More than 139,000 shares and 1.1 million likes later, these pics have gone almost as viral as the initial video.
It’s not like putting on a mask is groundbreaking comedy. So, why is Payne garnering so much attention and admiration? Viewers note that it’s the pure, innocent joy. One commenter responded to the post of Payne at Facebook headquarters by writing, “I will say it again, I LOVE that a video about JOY broke the internet!!! Go Candace Payne!!!!! Our world needed you today!”
Following Payne’s instant Internet celebrity status was a recent visit that may have put an even bigger smile on her face than the mask (if that’s possible!). Representatives from Kohl’s dropped by to give the rest of Payne’s family their own Chewbacca masks, along with gifts galore for her children and $2,500 worth of gift cards.