Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya, Elsa Majimbo said she wanted to be a comedian but she didn’t know how or when. And when COVID-19 struck, Majimbo, then a college student, knew the time had come for her to pursue a career in comedy.
The pandemic led to a shutdown of many universities across the globe, including universities in Kenya. Classes moved from physical teaching to virtual lecturing. And it was also around the same time that social media apps like TikTok gained popularity among Gen-Z and millennials.
Majimbo created a TikTok and other social media accounts and began posting videos about how she absolutely did not miss human contact and quickly started gaining social media fame. The first in her family to attend college, Majimbo, who was then studying journalism at the city’s Strathmore University, decided to quit schooling and concentrate on becoming a superstar comedian.
“When I went viral, the first thing I did was send an email and quit,” Majimbo said at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Africa about her decision to quit college. “It was absolutely delusional, but I believed I could succeed. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to be a superstar.’
In no time, she caught the attention of celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o, Steve Harvey and Rihanna. They were obsessed with her videos regarding “finding a boyfriend from her pillow, watching TV for 12 hours a day and comedic narcissism,” according to Forbes.
Her act won her endorsement deals with Fenty and Logitech and she also relocated to Los Angeles in 2021 to pursue her career in comedy. According to her handles, Majimbo is worth millions but she only calls herself a “millionaire” for comedy purposes. She said in two years, she has gained 2.5 million Instagram followers.
At just 20 years, Majimbo has appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue, become an ambassador for MAC Cosmetics, released a book with Valentino, won a people’s choice award and launched an NFT project, among others.
Despite her global success, Majimbo stays humble and grounded. According to her, anytime she goes back home, her parents make her wash dishes and do other domestic chores. “They keep you grounded, they keep you humble and they are such a blessing,” she said of her parents.
For young people who want to be like her, Majimbo says “follow your instinct.”