Nala is obsessed with boxes.
She loves napping in them and absolutely hates it when she’s on the wrong side of the doors.
Sounds like any cat on the planet, except she’s not.
She’s the Internet’s most famous cat with more than 4 million followers on Instagram and millions of dollars under her paws.
Nala’s fame has forever changed her owners life from a Thai graduate student in the U.S. to a millionaire businesswoman, a social media success story.
“I never thought my cat will have millions of followers.
It never occurred to me that I would be doing this for five years.”
Varisiri Methachittiphan who goes by Pookie was a 23-year-old business student at UCLA when she visited a shelter in California.
“I didn’t plan to adopt, but I saw Nala in the cage looking so adorable.
I felt a strong connection.
When I picked her up, she licked my face, my nose, so I decided to adopt her.”
Pookie named the Siamese and tabby mix Nala after a lead character in the Lion King.
Then she did what wasn’t so common way back in 2012.
She created an Instagram account for Nala and shared some photos.
“I wanted to challenge myself and see how many followers I can cultivate.
There wasn’t a day that I didn’t post and her fan numbers kept growing.”
Within a year, Nala’s followers jumped to about 700,000.
That’s when companies began paying Pookie to show Nala interacting with their products .
Expanding Nala’s fan base and working with friends quickly became Pookie’s full-time job after graduation.
“My family wanted me to go home.
My dad once asked me what could you possibly do with just a cat.”
With Nala, quite a bit, she brought home $300 for her first gig.
Now some companies pay as much as $15,000 for a few photos posted across platforms.
The nine-year-old cat also bought Pookie a car and two houses in California.
Pookie on a red carpet movie premiere in Hollywood.
Nala, the cat, and to numerous talk shows and events.
In September, she made Pookie, now 32, CEO of her cat food enterprise .
It’s all part of maintaining the brand as other pet influencers, dogs, pigs,even hedgehogs, line up to compete for corporate dollars.
Pookie says she’s not worried, because right now Nala’s followers keep growing.
And Nala, she’s just living her best life, sitting in a box or two and pushing through closed doors.
All in a day’s work.
Warangkana Chomchuen VOA News
美国之音 Warangkana Chomchuen报道