Who Is Paige Spiranac And Why Did She Offer To Replace Joey Chestnut?

Joey Chestnut hot dog championship
Joey Chestnut hot dog championship - Brandon Sloter/Getty Images

Paige Spiranac is a social media influencer with 4 million followers on Instagram, 1.5 million on TikTok, and another million on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. While those numbers have no bearing on whether she can fill Joey Chestnut's shoes, she nonetheless offered to occupy that Chestnut-sized void in this year's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. The speed eater dashed his chance to participate when he agreed to promote one of Nathan's competitors: the plant-based meat purveyor Impossible Foods. Perhaps seeing an opportunity to hog the spotlight or capture it with a meatless alternative, Spiranac tweeted, "I'm available to fill in. My record is 6.5 hotdogs in 10 minutes." She later corrected the record because she had only consumed six. Too bad eating contests aren't like golf, where lowering your score actually raises your rank in the competition.

If this clearly non-serious bid to replace Chestnut was informed by golf, it would be par for the course. In addition to being an influencer, Spiranac is a golf instructor and ex-pro golfer. She posts tutorials on the sport and opines about matters like PGA rules and swamp butt. She has posed provocatively with putters, sat in a golf ball-filled bathtub, and rubbed elbows with hall-of-fame golfer Gary Player.

Although Spiranac's career highlights don't scream "competitive eater" (or even whisper it), she might have Chestnut beat in one regard. She is, in her words, "the self-proclaimed queen of hot dogs" (via Marca).

Read more: What The Cameras Don't Show You On MasterChef

A Taste Of Hot Dog Royalty

Paige Spiranac holding golf club
Paige Spiranac holding golf club - David Becker/Getty Images

We don't know exactly when Paige Spiranac ascended to the hot dog throne, but shortly before National Hot Dog Day in 2023, she referenced her royal title while announcing the giveaway of a hot dog-inspired golf club. The monarch has also celebrated wieners on America's birthday. Notably, back in 2022, she may have foreshadowed her proposal to sub in for Joey Chestnut at Nathan's Fourth of July feeding frenzy. In an Independence Day post on social media, she showed off techniques she purportedly borrowed from elite hot dog eaters. So when she recently demonstrated how many franks she could finish in 10 minutes on X, it was arguably on-brand.

The hot dog queen ate at a pace that seems leisurely compared to that of the 16-time hot dog-eating champ she asked to replace. Yet, she might be winning anyway. We don't mean that in an Aesopian sense like when a tortoise races a hare (though Spiranac could plausibly beat rabbits at speed eating since they're usually in no rush to chow down). This is about winning the internet. It turns out that when you have millions of social media followers, you can make a queen's ransom from your content. A 2024 analysis by Vegas Insider suggests a single post by Spiranac could earn between $8,477 and $12,716 on average. So even though she's not setting the competitive eating world on fire, she may have plenty of money to burn.

Read the original article on Mashed.