Pig Beach: A Brief History of Celebrities’ Problematic Love Affair With Swimming Feral Hogs
There aren’t even 30-50 feral hogs left on the Bahamas’ Pig Beach.
If you’re anyone who’s anyone, you’ve been to Pig Beach. But just because one has visited Pig Beach, an island in the Bahamas that about 20 feral pigs and piglets call home, doesn’t necessarily mean that one understands it. Take, for example, True Thompson, newcomer to the Kardashian-Jenner clan: “True is still processing how she feels about the pigs ?,” her mother Khloé Kardashian captioned an Instagram gallery of the pair of them slowly making their way towards a smattering of the island’s famed feral hogs. “I think the other pigs are still sleeping. It’s early.”
Little does she appear to know it, but Kardashian and her daughter lucked out by dropping by in the early morn. According to at least one local source, the pigs get extra grumpy after their usual lunchtime, making them more likely to attack. And yet, over the past few years, the risk of bodily harm to visitors of Pig Beach has done next to no damage to the pigs’ perceived charm. The destination has become so popular that last year even brought the publication of a book titled Pigs of Paradise: The Story of the World-Famous Swimming Pigs. “For several millions of dollars, you can buy an island here,” its author, T.R. Todd, astutely notes. “But the pigs live rent-free.”
Whether they like it or not, however, the pigs are most definitely not visitor-free. In fact, Khloé and True aren’t even the first Kardashians to have dropped by in recent years. Kourtney Kardashian, along with her friends Isabela Grutman and Larsa Pippen, beat them to it all the way back in July of 2016. It was at that place and point in time that Pippen christened their trio the “three little piggies.”
Since then, however, it’s a title that Pippen and co. have had to share. Amy Schumer, for one, used the exact same Instagram caption eight months later, in February of 2017. To be fair, at that point, Schumer was already something of a pioneer when it comes to visiting Pig Beach. She’d already visited the hot spot months before Kardashian, Pippen, and Grutman—and posted the Instagram to prove it.
Unfortunately, Schumer’s return to the island only meant bad news for its inhabitants. That same month, the Nassau Guardian published an interview with a local pig owner who claimed that visitors had begun attempting to ride the pigs, as well as give them beer and rum—much to the creatures’ detriment. Later that month, news broke that seven to 10 of the island’s pigs had died, reducing their colony to just eight or nine. Reports that they had died of alcohol overdose appear to have been false, but the cause of death was apparently tourism-related all the same; upon finding that the deceased pigs’ stomachs were full of large quantities of sand, a Humane Society inspector concluded that the pigs were suffering from eating food that tourists had been throwing onto the beach.
To be clear, Schumer was not the problem. But her second visit to the island, given its timing, is emblematic of the threats that celebrities have increasingly posed for the Bahamas’ very own Babes. After all, the same week that Kourtney Kardashian made the pilgrimage to Pig Beach, so did Donald Trump Jr. and his entire immediate family. Trump Jr. even had the gall to feed the pig several gutted orange peels out of a bucket.
If you’re wondering how Trump Jr. had the idea to join the influencers flocking en masse to Pig Beach, well, at that point, the destination had already gone mainstream. Perhaps he caught The Bachelor‘s visit to the island in February of 2016. Or perhaps he’d been dying to go ever since becoming one of the billion-plus viewers of Pitbull and Kesha’s music video for “Timber,” which came out all the way back in 2013.
Ten months later, another camera crew followed in their footsteps. “Real talk, like, we’re spendin’ a lot of fuckin’ money,” Ja Rule can be heard saying in a portion of Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary. “If we wanna go fuckin’ see the pigs, and the girls wanna go see the pigs, we go fuckin’ see the pigs,” he continues, further illustrating the backstory of how, in December of 2016, he and his fellow festival figurehead Billy McFarland escorted models like Shanina Shaik to Pig Beach. Unfortunately, much like Fyre Fest itself, the visit didn’t exactly go as planned: According to a filmmaker who came along for the ride, one pig was so intent on biting Chanel Iman that she fell to the ground. And she wasn’t the only victim: another pig, apparently, “bit Billy in the balls.”
And yet, even that experience didn’t deter some of the others wrapped up in the maelstrom that was Fyre Fest from returning to Pig Beach. In a true testament to their devotion to Hailey Bieber—then known as Hailey Baldwin—Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner returned to its feral shores just under a year later, to celebrate their pal’s birthday. With Camila Morrone, Justine Skye, and more in attendance, too, their squad presumably outnumbered the remaining members of the island’s pig colony. Perhaps in solidarity with her fallen porcine brethren, Hadid posted a series of Instagram Stories emblazoned with the phrase “I’m dead.”
Practically everyone else on the trip followed Hadid’s lead in making her pig content Instagram Stories-only. The exception was the model Isabella Peschardt, who graciously devoted entire grid of her main feed to a pig that she christened “the cutest lil bb.” But the gesture was far less kind than it appears. From the look of it, she and her crew were feeding the pigs slices of white bread—an absolutely no-no when it comes to her lil bb’s health and safety.
Potentially lethal actions aside, Peschardt managed to avoid a controversy. Hadid and Jenner, on the other hand, were not so lucky. As a welcome back from their trip, 57,000 people signed a petition begging the models to improve the pigs’ lives—primarily by donating sunscreen.
Then again, maybe Hadid and Jenner’s repeat visit actually did some good for Pig Beach. Whether out of fear of getting cancelled, or of being at least two years too late in posing with the pigs, practically zero celebrities or influencers of note graced the island’s shores in 2018. But then, in February of 2019, one brave soul did: an influencer by the name of Michelle Lewin, who currently boasts more than 13 million followers on Instagram. Her photo op, however, did not go as planned; when Lewin went in for the kill, so did one of the hogs, who enacted Piggy’s revenge, à la Lord of the Flies, by biting Lewin’s behind.
And that, dear readers, is where the story would have ended, had Khloé Kardashian and True Thompson not threatened to usher in the tourism renaissance of Pig Beach. Whether more influencers will fall prey to the island’s denizens, only time will tell. In the meantime, though, expect to be seeing a lot more photos like this on your feed.
Related: These Little Piggies Went to Bjarne Melgaard’s Art Opening