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Chewbacca Mom Shares How Her Life Has Changed

Candace Payne, known to millions of people around the world as Chewbacca Mom, recalls the day her video went viral and shares how the experience changed her life.

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Guideposts Video: Inspiring True Stories

I love him. And so, yes, my face fits perfectly; here it is [laughs as mask growls]. 

Hi Guideposts. I’m Candace Payne, and you may know me as Chewbacca Mom. I got that name because about a year ago I decided to return some yoga pants. I actually didn’t find anythihng I wanted to replace them with, so I thought, like every good mama thinks, ‘I’m going to go look at the toys and get something for my kiddos.’

I bumped into this toy mask that made this incredible little growl and huff and puff. Listen, it had a clearance sticker on it, and when I put it on, the sounds that it was making came from the speak, which was right here in the middle of your forehead. 

The thing that really pushed me over the edge and made me not stop laughing is, Chewbacca was happy! The last time we saw him in film, he’d lost his best friend and he was so, so sad. And so now I’m looking at myself in the phone on my dash-cam, and I’m just seeing he’s so happy! So, so happy! [laughs in dash-cam video, says ‘Oh, I’m such a happy Chewbacca!’]

It caught the giggles in me [laughs]. Up to that day, I’d never known anybody personally that had had a video go viral. I ended up, though, going to sleep that night thinking, ‘I can put my head on my pillow and I’ve had one million views, and who can say that? That’s awesome.’

Little did I know I would wake up the next morning, and  while I was sleeping—I woke up at, I think, it was around 7:30 in the morning, and I was at 24 million views and counting; it just kept going up, over and over and over again. It was just beyond anything you could ever imagine.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt where you’ve had a moment where you just kind of walked right into an open door to your destiny, but I felt like that happened. I felt like our world really needed a laugh.

I never thought of myself as somebody that would be the ambassador of joy or somebody that would bring joy to the world. I feel like our world was just needing relief, and there’s something about perfect timing as well.

I think I know who I am more confidently, and I think that is what the secret is: when you know who you are and you can laugh at everything that’s good and bad about you, or indiffrent. I really think the moment that you just confidently know who you are and quit comparing yourself to the other person next to you, I think that leads to these incredible joys.

My book is called Laugh It Up: Embrace Freedom and Experience Defiant Joy. I want us to have defiant joy, a joy that says, regardless of how I am programmed or I’m used to responding or I’ve gone down this track so long, that’s my natural norm—I want to see people figure out that they can live with a job that is present in every decision regardless what comes their way.

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