A TikToker went viral with a unique challenge: He said he'd eat a slice of cheese for every new follower.
@Cheeze_Louise__ gave up on day three when he suddenly amassed tens of thousands of followers.
The creator told BI he wants to use his newfound fame to give back to his community (and not waste cheese).
What's the maximum number of cheese slices you'd eat in a day?
A 30-year-old from Arizona went viral last week with an unusual and fascinating challenge to test this very question. In a video posted last Tuesday, the TikToker @cheeze_louise__ said he would eat a slice of cheese for every new follower he received. The first two days, which brought him 24 followers, were doable. But then he gained tens of thousands of followers overnight and couldn't keep up the challenge.
Cheeze_louise__, whose real name is Steven and who wished to be identified by his first name only, now has over 178,000 followers.
Steven, 30, told Business Insider that while he was forced to give up on the challenge — tapping out at 32 total slices of cheese — he wants to use his newfound fame to give back to his community and become a cheese-themed influencer.
@Cheeze_louise__ is pushing the limits of cheese consumption
Steven, a full-time IT compliance worker, created his TikTok account on January 15, sharing the first video of his challenge where he filmed himself eating eight cheese slices for his then-8 followers.
A deluge of new followers and commenters wondered how he would eat so many slices of cheese, with one viewer speculating that day three was "about to be the most expensive trip to the grocery store for one item in history."
When he started filming on day three, he had amassed 30,000 followers (he had 75,000 by the time he uploaded it). In the video, he said he could not feasibly keep up with the challenge.
"You guys just want to watch me bloody keel over and die?" he joked.
Steven told BI that he came up with the challenge idea a few weeks ago, thinking it could be a cool way to promote his film podcast on YouTube. He said he told his wife, and she thought it would be funny, not knowing it would result in sudden virality and chaos.
He said he's always loved cheese: on its own and as an ingredient in all his favorite foods. He said one of his most cherished memories is learning to make mac and cheese with his wife.
When he first started preparing for day three, he said he only had 400 followers, so he and his wife went to the grocery store and got as much cheese and bread as they could carry.
"I was ready to do it, and then when I came home, we were at a thousand, and we were like, 'oh my gosh'," he said. After being featured by bigger creators like the EMT and influencer The Sleepy Paramedic, Steven's channel went so viral that the cheese crusade became untenable.
Instead of the challenge, he's started uploading videos showing him eating cheese in different ways (like handfuls of shredded cheese and biting into a block of cheese) to eventually make it up to his followers. He joked that he owes them a "debt" of 100,000 slices of cheese.
His cheesy plans for the future of his channel
While he said some viewers have accused him of wasting cheese, he plans to partner with bigger TikTokers and cheese companies to feed the homeless in his area. He said he already has some collaborations in the works, but he didn't want to disclose them.
Steven also hopes to use his channel to share fun and creative cheese-themed recipes.
"I'm a huge believer in not wasting any kind of food; my mom taught me," he said.
Steven's viral phenomenon feels like a callback to an earlier era on the internet, where fun and inane challenges (like "liking" an image of an egg or counting from zero to 100,000) held everyone's attention at once. People seem to enjoy both the extreme and mundane aspects of Steven's cheese test, taunting him in the comments about potentially causing a "cheese shortage" or growing super tall because of the amount of dairy he would have to consume.
Read the original article on Business Insider