DALLAS -- Less than three weeks ago, a single wookie mask changed the world for Candace Payne. Sunday, it all came full circle for our Chewbacca Mom when she got the chance to meet the one and only Chewbacca actor, Peter Mayhew at Dallas’ Fan Expo.
“It kind of hasn’t processed or registered yet,” Payne said after meeting Mayhew. "I feel like I’ve been saying that for two weeks. I need to process this.”
She’s been across the country on the morning and late night circuit ever since her infectious laugh lit up Facebook in a Chewie mask, giving her more than 150 million views, the most ever for a Facebook Live video.
A meet and greet with Mayhew wasn’t enough. Payne, a mom from Grand Prairie, had her own booth at this year’s Fan Expo.
"Being able to see my name next to some of the names that they’re sitting next to, it literally made me laugh out loud last night,” Payne said.
At $20 per autograph, she’s making bank off her 15 minutes of fame too…or is she?
“We're going to donate whatever is made today to some charity that’s close to my heart,” Payne said. "So it’s not about, 'Hey, this lady’s got some 15 minutes of fame and now is getting greedy.' I am absolutely using this platform to give as much as I can.”
Not that there haven’t been wild offers along the way. Her family has received about $420,000 worth of gifts, though $400,000 of that is represented by full ride scholarship offers for the whole family to Southeastern University in Florida.
"My ceiling that I could go to is now their floor,” Payne said about the future of her children. “They’re going to be able to walk in places that we never thought even possible.”
What about the future of Candace, though? The mask came from Kohl’s, so will we see her in Christmas ads this year?
"I have no clue,” she laughed. "Could you just imagine me, though, in like a onesie pajama with Chewbacca feet?”
Yes, we could, Candace. And we’re loving every second of it.