BY MOHAMMED HERSI
Kenyans negative reaction to Naomi Campbell appointment as Magical Kenya International Ambassador is completely misplaced.
While each one is entitled to their opinion I also dare say that we are very bitter with everything and anything.
Allow me to state a few facts.
- Naomi Campbell is NOT the first and will NOT be the last tourism ambassador to be appointed.
- Eliud Kipchoge had been appointed late last year.
- Why Naomi and why NOT our own Lupita [Nyong’o]. Please allow me to enlighten you. Lupita maybe our daughter but she is now a high flying brand and if we are to get her be prepared to pay top $$$ for her brand. Let me also tell you that even the father who is Governor of Kisumu cannot just use her image to promote Kisumu. When you reach Lupita’s level, agents run the show. They monetize every single move.
- Naomi Campbell is equally not affordable and I will tell you for free that she is doing all this pro bono for the love she has for Malindi and Kenya. If we were to pay Naomi she would wipe a good chunk of our destination marketing budget.
- Now lets talk of numbers. Some claim that Naomi is not influential and she has lost her mojo. Let me help you.
Instagram is one major platform for destination marketing and Naomi has 10+ million followers while younger Lupita has 8.9 million.
Both are influential but Naomi offered so why should we refuse besides Naomi is even visiting us when good parts of the world are under lockdown.
Naomi has over 750K Twitter followers and 500K subscribers on YouTube.
Finally nothing stops us from appointing Lupita but it will cost us money to do that and I will tell you for free that Kenya’s budget is 1/10 of what South Africa is given so you can do your maths.
I respect Kenya Tourism Board for stretching that $$$ to the limit to deliver hence any star who is willing and ready to adopt Kenya and help us promote Magical Kenya is more than welcome.
Naomi considers Kenya her second home and every Christmas she is opting to come to Malindi, Kenya, just the way Oprah Winfrey has made South Africa her second home.
None other than Madiba embraced her as his lost daughter if you care to read her relationship with South Africa and I would place Naomi on the same pedestal since she has been coming to Malindi for the past 15 + years.
Those claiming that Naomi is too old, she just turned 50 and she is looking gorgeous as ever.
It is said your network is your net worth and Naomi has connection and reach across Europe, UK, Canada, USA and even Africa and right here in Kenya.
Naomi is not some lightweight.
Her list of friends and associates reads the who is who on the global arena.
Please make Google your friend.
Instead of bashing Naomi, we should be exploring to see how she can help young models to get opportunities and many other doors that she can help to open.
Those who think we paid millions to get her, I can bet we paid nothing and all this is the personal goodwill from my good friend [Tourism] CS Najib Balala.
Please don’t ever kid yourself that Naomi appearance fee is cheap…she is not and for her to have offered which is not being said is a kind gesture from a successful model of colour with African roots.
Since Naomi has fallen in love with Malindi, I have now taken the liberty to give her a beautiful Giriama name Naomi Kadzo Campell. If you also have a problem with that, talk to me.
To my fellow Kenyans, let’s reduce the bile and learn to appreciate others and embrace people of goodwill.
Dear Naomi, please don’t read too much into sentiments expressed by Kenyans on social media.
You see we use social media to ventilate and please take it with a pinch of salt.
I leave you with the words of Michelle Obama ….” When they go low, you go high”.
Mohammed Hersi is the chairman, Kenya Tourism Federation