A Round With Paige: The Insta star on internet trolls and the messages that make it all worthwhile
We’re drinking sparkling water today, because you don’t drink alcohol.
No. I just always want to be in control, especially now that I do a ton of events. I want to make sure I’m safe, I know where I’m at, and I’m ready to handle any situation. So I stick to water.
Has the decision to abstain from alcohol changed your life in any tangible way?
Yeah. It’s saved a lot of money. [Laughs] A lot of bad decisions were not made. A lot of junk food has not been consumed. But I still like to go out and have a good time. I’ll have a beer here and there. I just hate the feeling of being drunk, the feeling the next morning. So it’s just a personal decision.
You’ve become one of the most recognizable names in golf, with 1.5 million Instagram followers—and counting! Do you ever marvel at your own star power?
It’s so bizarre. I literally post swing videos. Like, how is that interesting? But I’ve created such a following, and they’re loyal fans. It’s really cool to create a community around something I love, and that they love, too.
Do you remember the moment you realized you were kind of a big deal on Instagram?
No, because I have people telling me every day that I’m not, that I don’t deserve my followers. People say I haven’t accomplished anything, but I feel like I’ve done a lot. I’m an ambassador for the Cybersmile Foundation, which is an anti-bullying organization. I go out to a ton of schools, and I speak about cyberbullying, as well as introduce [the kids] to golf. I’m really trying to do everything I can to bring golf to people who have never done it before, as well as just make golf fun and cool.
A lot of people with large social followings ignore the trolls, but you choose to engage with them. Why?
Because social media is my business now. I’m a content creator, so I like to read the comments, and I like to engage, because if people aren’t interested in what I’m doing, then I’m not doing a good job. It’s
also created this new platform for me to speak about women’s issues and cyberbullying and things that are important to me.
What’s the most positive thing that’s come out of all the openness on your part?
I get messages every day from young girls, or from the fathers of young girls, or boyfriends or husbands, saying, “Thank you for speaking up about these issues.” I had a dad say that his daughter was close to suicide, but that she heard my talk in Dubai, and how emotional I was, and it changed her life. So you hear that and you’re like, “Okay, that makes it worth it.”
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
That’s hard, because my whole career has been something completely unexpected. A year ago, I might have said that I’d want to be on tour. But now, I think I just want to be taken seriously as a golf influencer and ambassador of the game, and I want to be seen as someone who is helping, and not as someone who’s just looking for attention.