Love is love, but in the Kenyan showbiz industry, love can also be business and a good one.
This is the life Maria TV series actress Dorea Chege 29, and fiancée Dickson Ndegwa 29, aka Mugithi Deejay (DJ) Dibul, are currently leading as they toss in the Dubai sun dunes.
The couple left the country two Sundays ago for a vacation in Dubai, an all-expense paid trip courtesy of travel start-up agency Premier Grand Tours.
“December was a busy one for both of us, especially me because it is the month when I make most of my money. We hadn’t spent some quality time together and I thought a vacation to Dubai in February wouldn’t hurt. It’s an all-paid trip by the tour firm which we have partnered with as their brand ambassadors,” Dibul tells the Business Daily a day before their departure.
DJ Dibul who works at Kamene TV and Kamene Radio and Dorea popularly known as Maggie for her character in Maria, are the newest and most trending celebrity couple for months now, since going public with their relationship in February last year.
Dorea, who moonlights as a content creator with over 1.2 million followers on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook had been secretly seeing Dj Dibul for six months before going public after gossip blogs started speculating about their romance.
“Our plan was never to go public, I had dated someone secretly for years but he wasn’t a public figure, it was difficult with my fiancée who is a popular personality with the Kikuyu audience,” Dorea says.
By going public with their relationship, the couple only meant to avoid speculations that they feared might somehow end up denting their respective brands. However, the move turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“With blogs, you can never trust them, they can easily publish negative stories for the sake of clickbait and that can end up tarnishing one’s brand so we had to take care. In the process somehow our relationship became a talking point and we were getting a lot of this traction, brands started approaching us for partnerships and collaboration. That’s when we realised we could make money together because most of the brands kept insisting on having us as a package.” Dorea, the talkative of the two, explains.
Blossom Spa in Nairobi’s Westlands was their first client.
“They were the first to approach us with these couple massage packages they had introduced and wanted us to promote it. We signed a contract that is still running,” she adds.
Having been in the content creation and influencing space for longer than Dj Dibul, Dorea who on individual projects charges not less than Sh30,000 on advertisements campaigns depending on the type of client and the duration of the gig, it was easier to formulate a couple’s package rate.
“Unlike Dj Dibul, I already had insights into how the influencing business is. As a couple package, we don’t take anything less than Sh200,000 for any partnerships or collaborations. That’s our starting point,” Dorea states.
So far the love-smitten duo has done several partnerships including with smartphone manufacturer Itel, Premier Grand Tours, and Sayyid Sisters Events among others.
The young couple also has a fast-growing YouTube channel, The Bulls Family, currently standing at 196,000 subscribers.
“All we do is document our daily life hustles and conversations. The streams have been good from our fans, and that translates to money,” the DJ notes.
But it’s not only The Bulls Family who have figured out how to earn from their relationship.
Youtuber, fashion blogger, and founder of Maua Wear Wanjiru Njiru walks this same road with her husband gospel singer Ben Kariuki alias Ben Cyco.
Besides influencing gigs, the husband and wife currently host a property show making them good money, the JoyRide podcast which they started in February last year.
To maximise the gains, the couple who actively promote their podcast on their respective social media platforms with over 200,000 followers on Instagram alone, have made The JoyRide available on every single streaming platform, be it audio or visual from Boomplay, YouTube or Apple Podcast.
This has ensured that The JoyRide taps a much larger audience.
Unlike traditional podcasts which are majorly audio, The JoyRide is visual as well. Besides, the couple has been hosting live podcast experiences in different locations majorly in the universities enabling them to make money from ticket purchases.
More income comes from collaborating with various brands targeting its audience and who in return inject monetary gains in form of sponsorships.
“Sometimes I ask myself what we could have missed out on if we didn’t dare to start The Joyride,” Ben Cyco wonders.
Celebrating its first anniversary, the podcast amassed over 3.7 million listeners across all platforms with 1,950 attending the four live experiences hosted in that period.
“We plan to make the live experience bigger and better. Maybe we should go to the stadiums now, I don’t know. I like making money and it’s even sweeter when you make money with your partner. That’s always the tick for me, making money with my partner,” Wanjiru says.
The two wedded in 2021 after over a decade of dating.
Singer Kevin Bahati and his wife content creator Diana Marua are yet another couple that teamed up in the name of love and ended up making money together.
With Bahati cashing from music, Diana whose popularity only grew when she started seeing the singer, makes her dough through influencer gigs and her active YouTube channel which was among the top 10 performers in 2021 and 2022.
Started in August 2019 and currently, with 815,000 subscribers, Diana’s YouTube channel is doing better than her husband’s which was started seven years earlier in August 2012.
Diana’s channel has so far amassed 138 million views, 66.6 million views shy of her husband’s channel which boasts 1.4 million subscribers with 205 million views.
Consistency on her channel has been her major boost assuring her at least 100,000 views per video.
Bahati has also played a part as he constantly features in most of his wife’s content. He was the brains behind Diana’s three songs Mubaba, One Day, and Hatutaachana which gained massive viewership. The songs were created more for traffic than entertainment.
A tactic that couples effectively use is the hype strategy whenever pushing their content, something that has assured them traction.
Diana B and Bahati have also collaborated and partnered with several brands such as Vivo Smartphones, property agencies, Raha Premium Maize among others.
Individually, they have also been able to nail influencing deals with reputable brands big enough to pay them well.
From Diana’s YouTube channel alone, depending on how active and the nature of the content she puts out in a month she makes at least Sh230,000 a month. In a good month, the amount surpasses Sh500,000.
“When I was working for Bahati, a video that Diana shoots gets an average of 100,000 views. That is massive, and if you combine both their channels, those guys would easily make close to Sh3 million in a month.” JT Mzeiya, former Bahati’s videographer, recently revealed.
The YouTube model of payment is based on watch time hours. The number of clicks on a channel and time spent on a particular video counts.
This is the reason content creators tend to make more money on the platform because of their much longer videos compared to those of musicians, usually a 3-minute video.
“We have just started doing it as a couple because it wasn’t something that was there during our early days. We can’t mention the amount but it is a money-making opportunity,” David Mathenge alias Nameless and his wife Wahu Kagwi say.
Last year Wahu was picked as Mortein Doom ambassador when the brand launched its national anti-malaria campaigns.
The possibilities of two savvy A-listers romantically involved will always be endless. With popularity, they form one hybrid force which results in lucrative business deals, sponsorships, and endorsements and the bargaining power suddenly doubles because the audience will double too.
The trend keeps growing by the day in Kenyan showbiz. Word on the streets has it some of these celebrity relationships have been built on this grounds-business, unfortunately, there is no proof of that.