Influencer Elsa Majimbo on securing fashion partnerships and ‘making money’


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Elsa Majimbo (1.4 million TikTok followers, 2.5 million Instagram followers) became famous from her bedroom in Kenya, subsequently dropping out of college. Now, the comedian-chess champion-influencer is living her very best life on the West Coast. “You would need someone to physically drag me out of L.A.,” she said of her new home. Last week, however, she came to New York City to drop by Aerie’s Christmas event at the company’s Lexington Avenue store. There, she took some time to chat about her rise to social media stardom and fashion favorites, ranging from cozy pajamas to Valentino.

Tell us about the TikTok that changed your life?

“Covid had just come. I was living in Kenya, dead broke. I had nowhere to go. And I was just in my bedroom. And I was like, ‘Covid’s hit, and everyone’s saying they can’t wait [to see each other]they miss each other. And I was like, ‘This is a blessing! Are you guys joking? I get to stay away from you! And I have a valid reason.’ And I posted that. Everyone was like, ‘Oh, this is so funny.’ I was like, ‘OK, cool.’

Then what happened?

“After that, I decided I never want to go back to school. I was [in college] in my first year, second semester. And I was like, ‘This is my way out.’ I took it, and I ran with it.”

So now what?

“Now, I make money!”

How are you making money?

“I’m working with brands, working in fashion — dressing up, partying and being paid to do it. I already do those things for free! Fashion is a way that you can express yourself and be who you want to be. And that’s what I’m all about.”

What have been some fun fashion moments since you became an influencer?

“Pierpaolo [Piccioli] dressing me [for the Met Gala 2021]. My first collaboration was with Valentino, and I have a book with them.”

What’s the craziest thing in your wardrobe right now?

“”I have this this Valentino bag in my closet — it’s insanely expensive. I have never worn it!”

What are your best shopping tips?

“If you don’t love it in the store, don’t buy it. If it’s too big or too small, don’t buy it. You need to be absolutely obsessed with it. If it’s too expensive and you feel like it’s too much, definitely buy it. You’re gonna take such good care of it!”

What’s a big investment you’ve made since hitting it big?

“I’m 100% a Gucci girl. I love Gucci so much. They need to give me some money. I’m spending way too much money at that store. But I bought this one small bag, and I absolutely hate it. That bag was so expensive, and I can’t even fit my phone in it. I regret it so much. Now it just sits in my closet.”

What’s your best affordable shopping tip?

“I don’t know, I never check the price.”

Why did you want to work with Aerie?

“Most of Aerie’s clothes are cozy, for sleeping. [They say] ‘I’m gonna stay in bed, I’m feeling lazy.’ That is 100% me.”

What else are you working on now?

“I have a couple of things in progress, including a couple of shows and movies. I’m working on brand campaigns and ad campaigns. And at night, depending on the day, I go out and party or I stay at home with my boyfriend and smoke weed.”

Which do you like better?

“Staying at home with my boyfriend smoking weed.”

Shop Elsa’s holiday gift picks below.

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