Woman in viral Chewbacca video invited to Facebook HQ

Ms Payne (right) enjoyed bike rides and coffee with 'Chewbacca' at Facebook HQ days after she uploaded a video of herself laughing hysterically while wearing an electronic mask of the Star Wars character.
Ms Payne (right) enjoyed bike rides and coffee with 'Chewbacca' at Facebook HQ days after she uploaded a video of herself laughing hysterically while wearing an electronic mask of the Star Wars character.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MARK ZUCKERBERG

SAN FRANCISCO • The Texas mother who became an Internet sensation for her viral Chewbacca video has scored an invite to Facebook headquarters, where she enjoyed bike rides with the Star Wars character and met the team responsible for the video platform that launched her stardom.

Ms Candace Payne's Facebook video of her uncontrollable laughter as she tried on the toy mask of the furry Wookiee last Friday thrust her into Internet fame. Shortly after Ms Payne, a mother of two who lives in Texas, uploaded the four-minute clip which she recorded from her car, "Chewbacca" began trending on Twitter in the United States. The video itself has since racked up over 144 million views, making it the most-watched Facebook Live video ever.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg yesterday posted images of Ms Payne hanging around the company's headquarters, writing that her record-setting video warranted the invite. Along with riding bikes with Chewbacca, Ms Payne is also seen having coffee with the Star Wars character and posing for photos next to a Facebook sign.

On her Facebook page, Ms Payne posted a video of her meeting with the team behind Facebook Live.

Since conquering cyberspace, the 37-year-old has been interviewed by various media including BBC, NPR and Good Morning America. She has also appeared in a sketch on late night talk show James Corden's The Late Late Show, donning the mask while pretending to drive the talk show host to work. The sketch also featured a cameo by Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, who gives her pointers on how to sound more like Chewbacca, before the trio end up breaking into a fit of giggles while wearing the Chewbacca masks.

Meanwhile, the Kohl's department store that sold the mask has seized on the video as a marketing opportunity, delivering a collection of Star Wars merchandise to the Payne family as well as US$2,500 (S$3,450) in gift cards, the New York Times reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'Woman in viral Chewbacca video invited to Facebook HQ'. Print Edition | Subscribe