PLS EXPLAIN Who is the Hawk Tuah girl? Why is she going viral? Can people truly capitalise on 15 seconds of fame? An intro for dummies and those living under a rock.

@sosydneyau

Who is the hawk tuah girl? Why is she going viral? Can people truly capitalise on 15 seconds of fame? An intro by Kartya, for dummies and those living under a rock. #hawktuah #hawktuahgirl #viral #video #interview #sydney #australia #sosydney #culture #lifestyle #fyp #foryoupage #foryoy #fy

♬ original sound – sosydney

Hawk tuah. It’s the phrase that’s captured the attention of the entire world. Whether you’re turned on, icked out, or just straight-up confused about what it means, we’re here to help explain.

Who is the Hawk Tuah Girl?

On June 11, Hayley Welch became an overnight internet sensation. The Nashville local was pulled aside by TikTok interviewers Tim & Dee TV, and her responses were immediately picked up by anyone and everyone who lives chronically online.

“You gotta give him that hawk tuah and spit on that thing,” she joyfully exclaims in response to one of the multiple raunchy questions thrown her way. You can probably connect the dots as to what she’s referring to.

In short, to say the video produced an immediate onslaught of fans and responses would be an understatement. Within 24 hours, merch collections, song remixes, and an international witch hunt for the young lady commenced. Within less than two weeks, there were over 60,000 TikTok videos with the hashtag #hawktuah, and she’d reportedly made over $100,000 AUD from merch sales.

What fascinated people the most was that Hayley Welch, up until a certain point, had remained entirely anonymous. She had no social media, there had been no public statement, and nobody really knew if that was even her real name. Until that verification, she was famously titled the ‘hawk tuah’ girl.

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That was, until she stepped on stage to sing alongside country star Zach Bryan at Nissan Stadium on June 29. The young woman, who everyone had assumed had gone into hiding after the provocative video, sang her tagline, loud and proud, on stage for both in-person fans and over 7 million TikTok viewers who watched the clip online. Maybe her 15 seconds of fame had been extended?

Why is She Going Viral?

I’ll be the first to admit that when first asked to run this story, my immediate reaction was ick. Myself, like many people inevitably swept up into the social frenzy, found it laddy, a bit stupid, and challenging my personal values as to what we should celebrate and idolise in women. Taking to the comments section on the video only made that funny feeling in my tummy grow stronger.

But I also realised that for the video to so quickly become that popular, clearly a lot of people disagreed. I couldn’t help but remove myself from the equation for a moment and get to the bottom of why hawk tuah had taken over social culture.

Realistically, my opinion is that there are a lot of cogs turning in the hawk tuah machine. First and foremost, young, attractive women creating sexually implicit content is naturally going to rate high. At the end of the day, sex sells, and Welch has proven that once again to us all. But with sexual content at the tip of our digital fingerprints nowadays, that doesn’t solely explain the reason for the video’s popularity.

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Perhaps what intrigued us viewers was more so the fact that the young woman was able to remain anonymous for so long. In an age where not having a social media account automatically renders you a social pariah, not having one could be regarded as outrageous. And thus, the historical tendency for us to witch hunt women could now be applied to a modern space. Those on social media platforms have access to an impossible amount of information, anywhere, anytime. So when it suddenly becomes denied to us – even for the most trivial of things – our ears automatically perk up.

After all, what do they say about absence making the heart grow stronger?

Yeah, that type of thing.

Can People Really Capitalise on 15 Seconds of Fame?

Despite her original (and rather longstanding) anonymity, Welch’s appearance at the Zach Bryan concert immediately marked a shift in her strategy. Rather than going into hiding, she immediately started to put pedal to metal in terms of social branding.

Within a week of her first post-viral spotting, she had featured on podcast interviews, booked public appearances, and signed with a talent agency. It appears her pivot has been one from out of the shadows and very much cemented into the media space.

But how long can she capitalise off this, really?

It’s honestly too soon to tell. Like many of the folly that came before her, Welch has quit her job to pursue a future in the industry. Good looks, youth and a catchy phrase can certainly put you on the radar overnight, but maintaining that isn’t as easy. For Welch to truly stay in the limelight, she’ll need to offer more meaningful value to the public. After all, the mystery shrouding her identity has been lifted, and people have started to move on.

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At the very least, we’ll say Hayley Welch has made some decent dosh, plus has a great story to tell her grandkids.

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