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Today, we’d like to talk to you about Seo-yeon Park, a young woman living in South Korea. Ms. Park used to have a respectable position at a business consulting firm, but being an attractive young woman, she discovered that she could attract a large audience by posting videos of herself online. Many of the people watching can’t do the things she does, others can but feel they shouldn’t. Deep down inside, though, everyone who watches Park’s videos, in which she gives herself the pleasure and satisfaction most can only dream of, secretly longs to follow her unbridled example.

Eventually, Park’s online activities, which started out as a hobby, became so encompassing that she quit her job. Her online exhibitionism is now a full-time gig for which she has adopted the stage name The Diva.

As we’re sure you’ve already guessed, Park has crossed over completely into the world of producing Internet videos of herself eating piles of delicious food, and is making a comfortable living from it.

Yes, Korea, the Promised Land of professional video gaming, has now added professional eater to its list of viable occupations. All the country needs now is a cottage industry where people will give you money to take a three-hour nap (occasionally waking up to scratch your behind), and it’ll have the trifecta.

Park regularly creates videos of herself eating copious amounts of chow, running the gamut from traditional Korean cuisine to Western fare such as pizza, pasta, and steak. She arranges her feast in front of her webcam, sits down, and digs in. As she chews away, viewers spend money to send her messages, some with graphics, that appear on screen.

▼ Beloved manga and anime character Doraemon makes frequent guest appearances.

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But where exactly is the appeal for the viewing audience? The obvious formula of “good-looking girl plus skin equals money” isn’t in effect here. Park remains completely clothed during dinner, which is something to be thankful for considering how bloated the slender woman is likely to be after eating what appears to be close to her body weight in food.

Unsurprisingly, most of Park’s videos’ viewers live alone. Also, as expected, many of them are watching to cope with their loneliness. That last word’s not a euphemism, though; eating in silence in an empty apartment can be an unpleasant experience, and Park offers a solution. Stick a laptop on the table, load up a video of a cute girl looking at you as she happily eats along, and all of a sudden dinnertime doesn’t feel nearly so awkward.

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Of course, if mealtimes are so sad that you need to turn to Internet videos for companionship, odds are you aren’t eating anything as scrumptious or luxurious as Park regularly does. It turns out, though, that the discrepancy is one of the keys to her success. Park claims to make nearly US$9,000 a month through her videos, with a little more than half of that income being reinvested to pay for the dishes she eats. Obviously, such a large food expense is outside the budget of most people, but if they can’t eat the delicacies themselves, many viewers consider watching Park enjoy them to be the next best thing.

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Ironically, some of the videos’ most enthusiastic followers are people trying to lose weight. Like the budget-conscious diner above, some dieters, after watching Park put away enough for a family of six, feel like they’ve had their fill too, which makes their personal pangs of hunger that much easier to suppress.

Park isn’t the only one making a name for herself like this, as these types of “watch me eat” videos have become an established sub-genre in Korea known as mokuban (a combination of the Korean words for “dinner” and “live broadcast.” With people living alone expected to account for 33 percent of Korean households by 2029, the mokuban movement may turn out to have long legs. Possibly long, chubby legs, given the amount its stars are encouraged to eat, but long legs nonetheless.

Sources: YouTube, Huffington Post
Images: YouTube
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