My Life as a Hooters Girl
The definition of what it is to be a Hooters Girl is the all-American cheerleader; the girl next door. She must always be camera ready, starting with her clean shoes all the way up to her styled hair and perfect makeup. However, seeming to be perfect, onlookers of Hooters girls are very judgmental. Being apart of such an iconic brand, my coworkers and I have to defeat the odds.
I started working at Hooters when I was a mere 17-years-old. This may seem young, but at the time my parents were pressuring me to get a job. I applied many places, only to find that none were hiring, which really placed me in a bit of a pickle. A couple of older girls from my high school were working there and one of them invited me to come apply. I asked them if I was too young to serve, and they all said they started working there when they were 17 as well. I thought to myself, “It couldn’t hurt to try.”
Many people ask me, “What did your parents think when you told them you were applying?” Well, being fortunate with somewhat nonjudgmental parents, the only thing they asked if I was too young (again). Once I explained I had other friends that started working there at my age, they gave me the support to apply at Hooters.
I was very nervous. I walked in and was surrounded by a variety of beautiful girls that looked flawless while serving customers. It seemed like a fun environment, which was also very intimidating being as young as I was. But, I went for it anyways and filled out my application, hoping this would be the place for me.
It turns out that it was. A manager called me about a week later for orientation. I was very excited because I knew I was going to be apart of something so popular and well-known. However, once I started working, I was beginning to realize what the public’s actual opinions were about this restaurant.
First thing’s first: our appearance. Being a Hooters girl, we must always be “camera ready.” What this means is that our makeup must be done, our hair always has to be down and styled-either curled our straight. We must upkeep everything from shaving our underarms to having well-kept nails. Another huge part of our appearance, which can easily be named the most crucial and judgmental part of our job, is our fitness lifestyle. Upon hiring, we are fitted to our corresponding size which must be maintained throughout our full employment term. With this being said, we are not able to go up a size in our uniform. A healthy diet, full-night’s rest, drinking a lot of water and exercising are some key components in keeping your figure. But, if you stray from this, you may be lightly reprimanded. I have had my own personal experience being scolded for my weight, which honestly is one of the most harmful blows to your self-esteem; however, it is meant to help us upkeep our healthy lifestyle and appearance as an iconic Hooters girl.
Looking at our image as a whole from our uniform to how we present our bodies, many people look down upon us. Time and time again we have heard people bark about how degrading it is to ourselves to be wearing the Hooter’s uniform while serving customers. But, do you want to know what I think is degrading? When people think all of us women that choose to work at an establishment like Hooters are incompetent and incapable of being intelligent. They think we show off our bodies to a pool of thirsty, old men and flaunt around like a ditz without a care in the world. I remember my Spanish teacher in high school was a huge feminist; she was all about woman power and women respecting themselves. There is nothing I disagree with or disrespect about her views, but the day she found out that I was working at Hooters, I felt ashamed. Her remarks of, “Does anybody work somewhere else where you don’t just have to walk around for tips?” and, “How is it wearing that low-cut shirt all of the time?” Seeming as these statements may have meant to be harmless, I did not sense that vibe from her while the whole class laughed. Now looking back, I nor any one of my friends should be ashamed to say that we work at Hooters.
Hooters is quite an amazing company, actually. Aside from serving some of the best wings and burgers, it creates many opportunities for their employees and the surrounding community. Working there for 4 and a half years now, I have been apart of the fun events; the bikini contests, submitting for the national calendar, attending promos off-site from the restaurant and more. I have also been given the opportunity to play a huge role in a multitude of charities that we love to involve ourselves with. We participate in the Kelly Jo Dowd fund which is a breast cancer charity for the month of October, as well as a charity we created for one of our deceased coworkers. Her name was Hailey and she passed away due to substance abuse. Every May, we raise money to give to Turning Point; a center to help struggling teens and young adults with any type of abuse. We also participate in the Night Lights charity through Realities for Children around the holiday season, which helps to buy Christmas presents for underprivileged children of Northern Colorado. Along with other events and charities we involve ourselves in, I would say we are off to a good start with our reputation. Let me prove to you that it gets even better.
Picture it is summer and you are a girl. I can bet that you are 100% wearing shorts where your butt cheeks are hanging out and a tank top that is showing your boobs. Now picture our uniform, and tell me that you have not been caught in an outfit like that before (for guys, that’s a different story). And please tell me that you have not been hit on or cat-called out in public, because I have been. Do you see the irony here? The fact that any semi-decent looking girl anywhere out in public, whether you be wearing yoga pants or a bikini top, is most likely going to get at least a double-take. And people still continue to judge us Hooters girls because we wear this outfit, and apparently we are degrading ourselves because of the position we put ourselves in with the customers…?
Speaking of our customers, they are fantastic. Hooters, believe it or not, is a family restaurant! I cannot tell you how many numerous times I have been asked if our clientele is a bunch of creepy, old dudes, and I respond with a frank no. We have it all; from couples visiting because they genuinely enjoy the wings, to women that come for a ladies night. I have served people ranging from 90 year-old war veterans to babies that are celebrating their first time at Hooters. Yes, I will say that we do get the people here and there that will gawk at us girls. On the other hand, I cannot tell you how many times I have also been appreciated for working there and have been noticed for being a smart individual. My most prized memories are of women approaching us and telling us they admire our confidence. Or, business men asking us about what we do aside from work, and them congratulating us on a job well done. Us girls are surrounded by a clientele that is unlike any other, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Finally, the most important aspect that sets us apart from any other job is the girls. These girls are everything. Aside from the makeup and the hair to the bodies and the presence, they are incredible. Every woman in that establishment has worked hard and persevered through life, whether it be a broken home to studying hard in school. I am surrounded by school teachers, bio-medical majors, business majors, esthetics professions, mothers, girls who have multiple jobs and more. We are so many times seen as nimble-minded because of the place that we choose to work, but if you take the chance to get to know us, we can most definitely change your opinions. I have never been so lucky to be surrounded by a fun and beautiful group of girls, inside and out. They do not shy away from opportunities or getting to know their customers on a personal level and that is what separates us from the rest. We are strong, confident, and independent women that aren’t afraid to be proud of the people we have become to our communities and most importantly, ourselves. I know that I can count on these friendships for a lifetime, and am proud to call them my family.
So, if you are reading this and have had your opinions on not just us but anything else in life, always make sure to educate yourself in order to have a fully developed opinion. Never doubt your ability to overcome obstacles or the viewpoints of others. It is your story to write, so be bold, be open, and be true. If you could simply open your eyes just a little further to enlighten the other side of things, you may be greatly surprised by what you see.