Glitter: Interview with Daina Falk Creator of Hungry Fan
Get to know Daina Falk in her candid interview about how she became the creator of Hungry Fan brand.
Growing up in a sports-loving household, Daina Falk had an early appreciation for Game Day. After all, her dad was Michael Jordan’s agent. But after years of cheering, tailgating and spectating she noticed a gap in the sports fan lifestyle market. “Americans spend billions of dollars [in the area of sports fandom] but there was no arbiter of taste, like a Martha Stewart for sports.”
So, in 2011, Daina got off the sidelines and started Hungry Fan, a brand dedicated to combining food and sports cultures. Since then she’s produced and hosted the 2012 London Olympics for NBC’s Universal Sports, reported on three Super Bowls, did a national show around NFL tailgating for CBS Sports and even released The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook, an Amazon best-seller, featuring recipes from all-stars like LeBron James, Boomer Esiason, Andre Aggasi and Patrick Ewing, all while proving women sports-fans are just as legit as their male counterparts.
GLITTER: When you started the Hungry Fan brand, what were people in the sports industry’s initial reaction?
DAINA: In the beginning, people looked at me like I had four heads when I told them about Hungry Fan. I’d explain I was building a sports lifestyle brand that sat between the industries of sports and food (think tailgating). They just looked totally confused and thought it would never catch on, which just seemed weird because people have been tailgating since the 1800s!
GLITTER: How has that reaction changed over the years?
DAINA: It all really began to change when Millennials (I am one too) assumed the majority of the labor market and started to flex their collective disposable income muscle. Millennials love combining worlds and not being defined by antiquated standards of what’s “masculine” and what’s “feminine. The combination of curated food and sports fandom fits perfectly into their experiential world
GLITTER: You may have grown up surrounded by the world’s best athletes, but you seem to identify most with the fans. Why do you think that is?
DAINA: I think it’s because I learned early on that athletes are people like you and me. It’s just that some of us play and some of us spectate but, if you ask me, the spectators have way more fun!
GLITTER: A lot of your recipes have a healthier slant. Do you think sports food is trending in that direction?
DAINA: For sure sports-related food is trending healthier but let’s be real, Game Day equals “cheat day.” My philosophy is that as long as you eat healthy six days a week, you definitely earn the right to indulge on Game Day. Now, if you’re a football fan, for instance, this could get tricky because we have Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Friday night college football, Saturday college football, and NFL Sunday, so you can’t just use Game Day as an excuse to eat 12 double cheeseburgers. Pick one designated cheat day to indulge and enjoy!
GLITTER: You’re constantly traveling across the country. How do you manage to unwind and practice self-love when you are away from home?
DAINA: Self-love for me is time at the gym. I leave my phone in my locker, I catch up on my shows on my iPad while I do cardio, and I clear my mind while I get my exercise-induced endorphin high. This helps to ease my stress, clear my head, and stay healthy.
GLITTER: You have done so many exciting things in your career, what’s next for The Hungry Fan?
DAINA: Total world domination. Ha. Kidding. I’d really like to continue to cultivate the community of Hungry Fans—people who share my zeal for tailgating, homegating and Game Day culture. I’d also like to partner with philanthropic organizations so we as a Hungry Fan community can all give back together.
GLITTER: What advice would you give a woman trying to break into a heavily-male dominated field?
DAINA: Be steadfast and believe in what you’re doing because you are the only one who’s going to make it happen. I also think it’s extremely important to de-stress every day, whether it’s the gym or a hot bath etc. You need to take care of yourself because you are your most prized asset.