Marini Naturals CEO Michelle Ntalami has responded to the backlash she faced since putting up an Instagram post imploring brands to collaborate with her for free.
A move that she termed as ‘giving back,’ was not taken too kindly by social media users who accused her of trying to use her celebrity status to exploit Kenyan business by offering to pay with exposure.
In her defence, the entrepreneur clarified that while many may call it exposure, she saw it as her worth.
‘’You call it ‘exposure,’ I call it my worth. So when I come forward with my post to promote and support smaller brands, I come as Michelle Ntalami, the brand. Knowing full well my worth and my value. But most of all, I come from a very good place, for those who know how I move, ‘’ she said in her latest response.
Clapping back at the naysayers, Ntalami did not seem to take the criticism lying down. She made it clear that she stood by her initial message, and that those who got it wrong had lots to lose. “Yes, nothing in life is free, including an influencer’s, celebrity’s or personality’s hard-earned work. We didn’t get here by Netflixing and barbecuing all day. Respect the hard work we’ve put in to be where we are today, ‘’ she went on.
In the earlier post, she had reckoned that she does annual birthday shoots that are top tier, and was looking to do the same this year, except with a twist. She informed her fans that she was looking to collaborate with Kenyan brands in a pro bono photoshoot. She wanted willing makeup brands, lingerie companies, photographers and the like to come on board. She had however stated that she was not going to part with any money for the same and instead, would tag and mention them in the outcome of the shoot.
‘’This year I want to make it a little different. We always expect to receive love and gifts on our birthdays. But this time, that’s exactly what I want to give back. You guys have always loved and supported Marini Naturals and me throughout my business journey, and now I am paying it forward. I’d like to wear and promote Kenyan brands and business for my photoshoot,’’ read part of the post that elicited lots of backlash on social media.
In a matter of hours, social media were up in arms over the post with many feeling that the caption and post were exploitative. ‘’That is so lame! And don’t say it’s a scratch my back, I scratch yours situation. It’s entitlement!’’ read a tweet from an evidently infuriated Twitter user. ‘The audacity of ‘I get to keep whatever I like!’ read another.
What will happen to her birthday plans is still unclear at this moment but we will be sure to update you.