Three months may have passed since Paige Spiranac graced the cover of Maxim’s “Hot 100” issue, but as the golfer-turned-influencer told The Post this week, she’s still in “disbelief” over the nod.
“It’s so funny, my manager called me and she’s like, ‘You’re never going to believe this, but Maxim wants you to do the cover,’ and at first, it didn’t quite sink in, and then I called her back and I’m like, ‘Wait, does that mean I’m No. 1, I made it?’” Spiranac said Tuesday, when she participated in the 3rd Annual Celebrity Chefs & Friends Golf and Tennis Tournament Benefiting City Harvest at the Alpine Country Club in New Jersey.
Spiranac — who joined chefs, restaurateurs, athletes and fellow golf and tennis enthusiasts at the Herb Karlitz-produced event to raise funds to feed New Yorkers in need — initially believed that Maxim might have made a mistake. But as the “Playing A Round” podcast host soon discovered, she would be participating in a dreamy, oceanfront shoot captured by renowned photographer Gilles Bensimon.
“I just couldn’t believe it. Even up to when we did the photo shoot, when the magazine came out, I’m like, I’m still in disbelief that this actually happened,” she said. “It’s such an honor and I still, to this day, I look at the magazine and I’m like, ‘That’s not me, I can’t believe this happened.’”
Spiranac shared the stunning shots over the summer with her 3.6 million followers on Instagram, where she frequently posts about her happenings on the golf course and the occasional selfie. And while much of the content featured on her page is lighthearted, Spiranac isn’t afraid to venture into uncharted territory when it comes to certain topics — body image, specifically.
“Whenever I just have this gut feeling that I need to say something, I do. I never overthink it, I never second-guess myself. With the body-shaming issue, I felt really sad and icky about it and I knew I had to say something and I’m so happy that I did,” she said.
Earlier this month, Spiranac revealed in an Instagram Story that a number of her followers had made rude comments about her weight. In response to the incident, Spiranac opened the floor to fans to potentially share their experiences with body insecurities.
Sprianac said she was taken aback by the “positive” response.
“I know I have a predominantly male audience and that’s usually not a topic that’s really discussed much with men, and so I really wanted to use it as an opportunity for them to speak freely with me about something that they might be insecure about or uncomfortable,” Spiranac said. “The feedback was incredible, it was the most feedback I’ve ever received on a Story.
“So many men are struggling with body image and body insecurities, and it’s something that we don’t discuss enough and something that I wanted to bring light to.”
Spiranac is appreciative of the trust that she and her followers have built over the years as they’re comfortable being vulnerable with one another.
“I’m so happy that I do have such a male-dominated audience because I’m able to talk about so many different situations or topics that really they don’t talk about or they don’t feel comfortable talking about,” she said.
“I’ve built so much trust with my followers that they feel really comfortable opening up to me and it’s really been a positive community. I’m happy that I have them, and I think, hopefully, that they’re happy that they have someone they can talk to as well.”