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Interview With Sonya Thomas

Aired September 17, 2003 - 14:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Then there's Sonya Thomas.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: If you saw her on the street, never in a million years would you guess that she could do this scene. Remember "Cool Hand Luke?" The egg eating scene? Let's listen for a sec.

I forget how many eggs he eats. Is it -- 50 eggs. He eats 50 eggs in that one. It's a great scene.

PHILLIPS: But you know what? That's nothing when get to the scoop on Sonya.

O'BRIEN: Yes. She can and has consumed 25 hot dogs in 12 minutes, 65 boiled eggs in 6 minutes -- Cool Hand Sonya, right -- and just yesterday 43 1/2 tacos in -- drumroll, please -- 11 minutes.

PHILLIPS: Now after a nice nap, Sonya joins us from the CNN bureau in Washington. And, Sonya, from what I understand, Miles and I want to know how do you this. And you run how many hours a day?

SONYA THOMAS, COMPETITIVE EATER: Two hours a day, and four times a week.

O'BRIEN: Four times a week, that's eight hours running a week and that probably keeps you at equilibrium. You look like a million bucks. You are a very unlikely candidate -- I don't know if we have any tape of some your competitors. Some of them are approaching 400 pounds. And that's more what you expect.

Do they look at you and go, Oh? They must have underestimated you at the outset. Didn't they?

PHILLIPS: All right, Sonya, we got a question for you. As we're looking at this video, can you hear us OK, still?

THOMAS: Yes.

OK, we want to know What's it like to go on a date with you? What do you order?

THOMAS: Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Not a cheap date I'm predicting. THOMAS: They have to take me to a buffet.

O'BRIEN: A buffet! Of course. And you don't want to be in line behind you. There will be nothing left, right?

THOMAS: That's right.

O'BRIEN: How do you get interested in eating so much?

THOMAS: I love to eat. A lot of people, they live to eat. But my style is love to -- I eat to live.

PHILLIPS: Now, how's your cholesterol, your blood pressure? You know you're 105 pounds.

O'BRIEN: Look at her, she looks like a million bucks.

PHILLIPS: I know, she's beautiful. But, you know seriously, how is -- do you get that checked on a regular basis?

THOMAS: I just checked it six months ago. And my body, everything is OK.

O'BRIEN: Of course in the six month span you've had 3,422 hot dogs or something to that effect. How do you keep up the pace doing all these contests and all this eating?

THOMAS: Yes, as I told you, I do regularly exercise. And my job, I just -- lately I quit my job. But before my job was always moving around, moving around. Always my body is moving. And then I eat once a big meal, not three times a meal to make my stomach stretch.

PHILLIPS: Oh, my goodness. So is this your full-time job? Are these competitions your full-time job?

THOMAS: Oh, no. Right now I needed some breaks myself. Before it's like, I tried to get into more contests than my job. I want to get my job as a -- like a good employee. But right now I want more interest in the eating contest, then I cannot keep up to all -- both. So right now I just need a little break.

O'BRIEN: Now you are originally from Korea, correct?

THOMAS: Uh-huh.

O'BRIEN: What does your family there think about your success as a world champion eater?

THOMAS: They're happy for me. But one thing especially my dad is worried about me about, Why you eat so much? And then he's saying, Your stomach is going to explode, you have to be careful. So he knows that I eat a lot.

PHILLIPS: So your parents were never the type that said, Now, Sonya, you have to finish everything on your plate or can't go out to play?

THOMAS: Yes, I have to finish my plate, everything.

O'BRIEN: Isn't it kind of interesting, though, you're the only one as small as you are compared to all your competitors?

THOMAS: It doesn't matter the size. The size doesn't matter. Look at Kobayashi, Takeru Kobayashi in Japan -- and he's small, too. This eating competition is like just like a sport, it's not just eating.

O'BRIEN: It's a mind game, right?

THOMAS: Yes, exactly. Mind game, like mental and physical. It's both, you cannot just eat so much, no, it does not work that way.

PHILLIPS: Well, Sonya Thomas, competitive eater, have you inspired me, I'm going to go eat as much as I can tonight.

O'BRIEN: Just have a long run. All right, Sonya. And you heard it from her, size doesn't matter.

PHILLIPS: We're going to follow you.

THOMAS: Thank you.

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