When British supermodel Naomi Campbell was announced as the international ambassador for Magical Kenya, some on the internet questioned why we could not have gone for a Kenyan face.
Ms Campbell has been a regular in the country, visiting Malindi almost every year. She was here during the festive season and spent a whole lot of time.
Some saw her as a natural fit for such a role, but others wondered why we did not go with Kenyan actor Lupita Nyong’o.
“Ministry of Tourism taps Naomi Campbell, a tired model who has lost her mojo to be the Magical Kenya international Brand Ambassador and is to market Kenya as a tourism and travel destination. Why not @Lupita_Nyongo or one of our daughters of international repute? Lol,” senator Millicent Omanga wrote on Twitter.
Ministry of Tourism taps Naomi Campbell, a tired model who has lost her mojo to be the Magical Kenya international Brand Ambassador and is to market Kenya as a tourism and travel destination. Why not @Lupita_Nyongo or one of our daughters of international repute? Lol
— Millicent Omanga (@MillicentOmanga) January 12, 2021
Now, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has come out to defend that decision, revealing that Lupita was in fact their first choice. He said that the Academy winner has been inaccessible since finding success in Hollywood.
Balala revealed that the ministry has unsuccessfully tried to get in touch with her for 5 years.
“I know everybody is asking why not Lupita. Lupita has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for Lupita,” Balala noted.
The cabinet secretary also revealed that Campbell was ideal for this role, because they are targeting certain markets.
“We can have one of our own, and we already have Eliud Kipchoge. We are targeting specific markets and sectors, so we will identify brand ambassadors because of that. We use Kipchoge to market Kenya because of his vast international networks,” he said.