She's laughing all the way to the bank! Candace Payne, aka "Chewbacca Mom," quickly became an internet celebrity after her giggly Facebook Live video went viral. In the whirlwind weeks that followed, the mom of two has been lavished with gifts and earnings estimated to total some $535,000.
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Time magazine estimates that Candace has racked up the impressive sum predominantly through gifts she received since the video went viral in May. This includes $3,800 from Kohls, the shop where she spontaneously bought the Chewbacca mask, a $9,500 family holiday to Walt Disney World, and an estimated $9,500 from her appearances on talk shows including James Corden's The Late, Late Show.
By far the most valuable gift Candace has received is full college scholarships for herself, her husband and their two young children. Southeastern University said they had offered the scholarships, worth $121,800 per person, because Candace had "inspired us and others with her joy".
The original 'Chewbacca Mom' hysteria began when 37-year-old Candace bought the mask in a shop in Texas, and opened it up in the car park outside. Her infectious laughter, and lines including, "I'm such a happy Chewbacca", have made it the most-watched Facebook Live video of all time – to date it has been viewed more than 150 million times.
Candace told James that they only reason she had made the video was to prove to her friends and family that the mask was hers – before her children claimed it for their own.
The mom-of-two was also invited to join Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook HQ, where she had a meeting with the much-loved Chewbacca character from the Star Wars films.