Oak Forest woman vies for Hooters pageant title
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org June 17, 2012 5:56PM
Local Hooters girl Jessica Hauss talks about how she qualified for the annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant while at the restaurant in Orland Park, IL on Friday June 15, 2012. She will compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes and chance to be crowned Miss Hooters International. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media .
Updated: July 19, 2012 6:10AM
When she first started waiting tables at Hooters in Orland Park, Jessica Hauss found all the attention she received unnerving.
“It was weird. Guys checking me out, asking me for my phone number. I wasn’t used to that. I’d tell them I have a boyfriend, but they don’t care. Then it got better because I started joking with them. Now I love it here,” she said Friday.
Given Hooters’ business plan of hiring lovely young women who wear tight orange shorts and white T-shirts, it’s only natural this 5-foot-2½ raven-haired beauty would attract attention.
She got used to it, which is good because Hauss, 19, now has the attention of the entire world.
She is among 101 Hooters employees vying for the title of Miss Hooters International at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami (broadcast on FX at 9 p.m. June 23). If Hauss wins, she gets $50,000 and will be featured in the Hooters magazine, the Hooters calendar and in national TV commercials.
“I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never modeled. No pageants,” said Hauss, of Oak Forest. “Everyone used to say, ‘You should be a model.’ There are pretty girls everywhere, so I didn’t think anything of it.”
On a whim, she tried out for the Hooters calendar about six weeks ago, and then got a call from Hooters brass asking her to be in the pageant.
“I didn’t even know there was a Hooters pageant,” she said.
Evidently, the swimsuit photos taken of her aboard a boat at Navy Pier were impressive.
She’ll spend a week in Miami, making promotional appearances at charity events, and doing photo shoots.
“It sounds like they’re keeping us busy. I hope to get to South Beach,” she said.
With her petite size, Hauss joked she does not fit the Hooters mold of “a blonde Barbie.”
Her mother, Laura Szakacs, is Hungarian, and her father, Scott Hauss, is Italian and German.
Her parents, sister Rachel Lundy, relatives, friends and co-workers will gather at the Orland Park Hooters to watch the pageant telecast.
She’ll wear two swimsuits and a purple evening gown. Each woman also must wear a costume based on her roots, so she designed a Chicago Blackhawks outfit.
“I’m confident. I’m not nervous yet, but I have stage fright in front of crowds. I’ve watched (tapes) of the previous years. It’s a pageant without a talent portion. I used to play soccer. Is that a talent?” Hauss said.
She was the second-leading scorer as a center forward for the varsity girls soccer team at Tinley Park High School her senior year.
She now studies sports therapy at the National Academy of Sports Medicine in Chicago.
Hauss will compete against women employed by Hooters around the globe. Hooters has 18,0000 women working at more than 430 restaurants in 44 states and 27 countries.
Hauss’ co-workers in Orland Park like her chances.
Waitress Adlin Pazmino, of Homer Glen, said Hauss “doesn’t act like your typical hot girl.”
“She is down to earth. She talks to everyone. She’s warm, a genuine person. She’s got a good chance,” Pazmino said.
Manager Aaron Thomas said the other women “don’t stand a chance.”
“She’s a very pretty girl. Her personality is big, and she’s a little silly, too. When she first started, she’d dance if a song she liked came on (the sound system),” Thomas said.
The only person not that excited for Hauss is her boyfriend of five years, Dylan Ramos, 21, of Oak Forest.
“He hates it. He thinks I’ll be in Playboy when I’m older. I have no intention of that. I think he’s happy for me, but maybe he’s a little jealous,” she said.
During the pageant, viewers will be able to text votes for Hauss.
This week, however, you can vote for Hauss online by “liking” Hooters on Facebook and following links to the pageant. The woman who gets the most votes online will win $5,000 and be named the Viewers’ Choice winner.
“I tell all my customers to vote early and vote often,” Hauss said.