SONYA THOMAS is petite and lithe, but her stomach can hold 18 pounds of food. Currently ranked sixth-best eater in the world, Thomas will compete this July 4 in Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Super Bowl of stuffing oneself, where she'll try to beat her personal best and down 40 dogs and buns in 12 minutes. We had a few questions for the binge queen.
MC: How did you get your start in competitive eating?
ST: I always knew I could eat more than most people. Then I saw the Nathan's contest on ESPN, and I found out that to compete, you have to win a qualifying contest. I won in New Jersey and went to Nathan's later that year.
MC: How do you prepare?
ST: I don't eat breakfast or lunch, but I eat the same dinner every night: fries, chicken fingers, and a grilled chicken sandwich. The day before a competition, I'll have a salad.
MC: You're not a cheap date.
ST: I may have eaten 522 oysters in a sitting, but I don't need to eat that much all the time! Still, the best place for a date to take me would be an all-you-can-eat buffet. If we went to a French restaurant, it could cost hundreds of dollars before I was finally full.
MC: So where does it all go?
ST: I don't know. Most people think that 300-pound guys can eat the most food, but more often it's skinny people.
MC: What's your day job?
ST: Manager of a Burger King.