The idea of being paid to eat sounds great doesn’t it? It will sound even better once you find out that this South Korean woman makes over $9000 a month just for eating dinner. I know what you’re thinking– where are the job applications!?
But before you go and quit your day job to become a full-time eater, you should probably know that there’s a catch. Seo Yeon Park, the beautiful 33-year-old who makes a living off of eating, must spend her dinnertime in front of a webcam to appease hundreds of adoring fans.
A little awkward? You bet.
But many of the Koreans who tune into Seo Yeon Park’s live-channel argue that paying to watch Seo Yeon eat is perfectly reasonable. We want to emphasize that although Park is noticeably attractive, there is no nudity or sex involved. Many people are quick to assume that her popularity is due to some strange fetish among viewers, but fans argue that they primarily watch Seo Yeon Park to heal their loneliness and their hunger pangs.
“People enjoy the vicarious pleasure of my online show when they can’t eat that much, don’t want to eat food at night, or are on a diet,” Seo Yeon told Reuters.
For this reason, Seo Yeon only eats top quality food that costs about $3000-$5000 a month. Seo Yeon will spend several hours eating (trust us, this girl can eat!) and spend a few more hours chatting with her fans. The entire show is roughly 4-6 hours and available every night. The show contains a live chat room and has become very interactive for her fans.
“For Koreans, eating is an extremely social, communal activity, which is why even the Korean word ‘family’ means ‘those who eat together,’” says Professor Sung-hee Park of Ewha University’s Division of Media Studies.
This is precisely why the show has become extremely popular among individuals who don’t want to eat by themselves.
“One of the best comments I ever received from a viewer who said that she had gotten over her anorexia by watching me eat,” says Park. “That really meant a lot to me.”
As a token of appreciation, many fans send in money. Seo Yeon Park gets paid so much that she was able to quit her day job at a consulting agency and now puts her full attention towards eating.
Lucky for her, Seo Yeon’s metabolism seems perfectly capable of adjusting to her job. Fans have watched her consume 4 whole pizzas in the span of a few hours and still maintain a fit body. Now that’s impressive!
If you still find yourself puzzled by all this, you’re not alone. In fact, Seo Yeon often receives harsh criticism from people who don’t support her channel.
“I get some really awful commenters who make me reexamine ‘why am I doing this again?’ but at the end of the day the positive feedback overwhelmingly outweighs the bad, so I am happy to continue.” she says.
And she’s not the only one! Over 3,500 people have been doing similar online programs sponsored by restaurants.
We’re not quite sure that this is a fad that will work in America, but we’re certainly interested in seeing how this progresses in Korea.