'Hawk Tuah Girl' Continues To Go Viral

Fathead Threads owner Jason Poteete and Haliey Welch

Tennessee native Haliey Welch’s claim to fame is a viral video of her cracking a sexual joke.

Now, just a month later, the “Hawk Tuah Girl” has an online audience in the billions just from media impressions alone. The 21-year-old former factory worker has appeared on stage with Zach Bryan at his show in Nashville, and she hung out with Shaquille O'Neal at JBJ's on Broadway.

“She may be small town, but she's savvy,” according to The Tennessean. “Welch is taking what started as embarrassment and is turning it into a career. She's assembled a team consisting of an attorney, a management company and a PR firm. That team is entertaining appearances with price tags north of $25,000 each, according to her manager, Jonnie Forster, owner of Los Angeles-based management firm The Penthouse.”



Welch and her team are figuring out what to do with her popularity.

"After meeting her, we were trying to find out why all the podcasters are calling her 'America's Sweetheart,'" Forster tells The Tennessean. "So from a branding and marketing perspective, I was just trying to figure out what is the reason why everyone's fallen in love with this girl.”

So far she’s making money off of her own merchandise line of caps and T-shirts. 

“Welch is the latest in a long line of viral celebrities, ordinary Americans minted by memes into a fleeting fame,” notes The Washington Post. “Remember ‘Alex from Target,’ the teen who went from working at a Target cash register in Frisco, Tex., to the couch on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’? Or Jonathan 'I Like Turtles’ Ware, the 10-year-old in zombie face paint who deadpanned his answer to a local TV reporter in Portland, Ore.?”

According to Fathead Threads owner Jason Poteete, they’ve already sold 2,000 hats. 

“Our largest orders are usually 100 hats, maybe 150 to 250 shirts. This is way out of the normal for us,” Poteete recently told Rolling Stone. “This is a small, family-owned shop. We’re all hands on deck right now.” 

He says he’s giving Welch a cut of the profits, although he declined to say how much. 

“Of course she hasn’t gotten a dime from the first viral video that went out,” said Poteete of Welch, whom he’s known for years. “Nobody was asking permission for her to do nothing, neither. I just wanted her to get some profit off of this deal.”

Weirdly, the viral moment has even taken a political tone. 

“Although there was nothing inherently political or conservative about the ‘Hawk Tuah’ video—one might argue that if anything, it’s expressing a liberal position—conservatives glommed on to Welch, fueling her meteoric ascent,” according to Vanity Fair. “Welch gave her first official sit-down interview to Barstool Sports personality Brianna LaPaglia, also known as Brianna Chickenfry. During the episode, LaPaglia asked Welch if she would ‘hawk tuah’ former president and convicted felon Donald Trump. ‘It’s a no from me,’ said Welch. ...  Although her response had nothing to do with actual politics, this sent both Democrats and Republicans into a tizzy.”

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