By Cole Schieders, Staff Writer
It was getting spicy Monday night when Diversity Round Table (DRT) and Student Life co-sponsored Spicy Wings and Spicy Topics.
Guests Miss Kansas Annika Wooten, Mayor Brandon Whipple and Newman’s Men’s Basketball Head Coach RJ Allen were interviewed by members of DRT while eating five progressively spicier wings, from a pineapple-habanero sauce to “Da’ Bomb Ground Zero.”
Jonathan Liu, vice president of DRT, said the event was inspired by the YouTube show, “Hot Ones.”
During “Hot Ones,” celebrities from Gordon Ramsay to DJ Khaled eat hot wings while being grilled by host Sean Evans on everything from awkward Instagram posts to their most recent projects.
Wooten was first, interviewed by Liu and DRT ambassador Jordan Ojile.
Before the first wing, Wooten said, “I don’t eat spicy food, ever. Like, pepper is spicy for me.”
She shared the story of how she won Miss Kansas 2019 with a talent portion where she painted Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bater Ginburg in 90 seconds. After some social media networking, the video made it to Ginsberg herself and through social media networking, Ginsburg was shown the video by her personal trainer.
Wooten also talked about her social initiative, “The Artist’s Fingerprint,” and her message for students across the state to be persistent in their dreams; it took seven years of competition before she won the title of Miss Kansas. She exemplified the virtue of perseverance by speaking through tears and gasps as she ate the fourth and fifth wings.
Following Miss Kansas was Allen, interviewed by DRT President Stephania Lopez and DRT Treasurer Madeleine Dellinger.
Allen shared about his love of coaching and its unique challenges. He said that neither of his boys care for basketball and are instead baseball fanatics. He also watched the viral Vine featuring a young point guard excited for his game the next day.
“He sounds just like most of my players,” Allen said.
Before the last wing, a clip was shown of basketball legend Shaq on Hot Ones eating a wing coated in the last and spiciest sauce, where he infamously said, “Kansas don’t know how to do no hot wings.” After taking a bite, Shaq immediately started chugging milk and begging for ice cubes.
Ojile said, “I didn’t even taste the wing. I took a small bite and only experienced pain.”
After taking a bite of the last wing, Allen couldn’t even speak.
The final round featured Whipple, DRT public relations executive Olivia Camarena, and DRT ambassador Jennifer Young.
“I am absolutely terrified,” Whipple said before taking his first bite.
Whipple told the story of the first date with his wife, which involved going to a rodeo.
“I dressed like an extra in a Matt Damon movie, like, straight out of Boston…They wound up taking out this dummy of Bill Clinton, and were like, ‘We have President Clinton here!’ And they ran him over with bulls… It was a real crash course in Midwestern politics.”
Despite his reluctance at first, Whippel handled the heat best. Camarena, who had trouble asking questions after the last wing, was shocked.
“Of all the participants, we thought you’d do the worst,” she said.
PHOTO: Danya Jumpa, Staff Photographer