Sonya Thomas is the nation’s leading woman in the competitive eating circuit. Don't let her 100-pound frame fool you; she holds 39 world records. Born in Gunsan, South Korea, she's currently a Burger King manager in Alexandria, Virginia. She holds records for chicken wings, cheesecake, hard-boiled eggs, and chicken nuggets in various competitions; she has earned the nickname “Black Widow” for her ability to take down male competitors more than double her size. She competes at this weekend's hamburger eating contest at the National Hamburger Festival in Akron.
What peeked your interest in eating competitions?
It all started 10 years ago. I’m small, but I’m a big eater. I had a big appetite. I could always eat more than other people and I’m very competitive. I was watching TV in 2002 and there was an eating competition on the news. I thought, “Maybe I can do this. I can try out."