Local waitress aims for international title
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com July 4, 2014 8:12PM
Kelly Bronson will be competing in a national Hooter's contest in Oak Lawn on July 2, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2014 2:13AM
Kelly Bronson wants to win big in Las Vegas, but it’s not at the blackjack table or roulette wheel.
Rather the 26-year-old Oak Lawn woman wants to win the title of Miss Hooters International 2014. She is one of 100 Hooters waitresses from around the world who will gather for a beauty pageant at the Hard Rock Casino on July 23.
If things go as she hopes, she will win the pageant and return to the Oak Lawn Hooters with bragging rights that will far outshine her appearing in the restaurant chain’s 2013 calendar.
Bronson has worked at the Oak Lawn Hooters since May 2007. She loves her job and the clientele. She’s enjoyed appearing at various events in the Chicago area on behalf of Hooters, but when she learned she’d be in the pageant, tears of joy flowed.
“I just want this. I want this so bad. There’s so many girls and I’m older. I’m competing against some that are 19 (years old),” she said.
Bronson already has been judged the prettiest waitress of the area’s 11 Hooters. She was among 100 local waitresses who tried to get into the pageant, said Michele Vasquez, director of recruiting, marketing and promotions for the area Hooters.
Bronson, whose parents, Carolyn and Chris, still live in the area, is the second of five children and the only girl. She’s also a mom. Her son, Jack, turns 5 later this year. Her boyfriend, Toby Cerniuk, has been “very supportive” of her being in the beauty pageant, she said.
Bronson, 5-foot-7 and 120 pounds, certainly has the looks of a beauty pageant entrant with her flowing hair and dazzling smile. Those good looks are one reason she was a cheerleader at Evergreen Park High School, Class of 2006.
She easily lost the 40 pounds she had put on when she was pregnant with Jack and was selected for the 2013 calendar.
The pageant includes a swimsuit competition and an evening gown competition. And each contestant has to design her own “hometown costume.” Bronson is hush-hush about her costume, other than it will include elements of the Chicago skyline and the city flag.
“It’s kind of ‘sweet home Chicago’,” she said. “Some girls, it’s crazy the amount of work they put into the costume.”
“I’m excited and nervous, but all I can do is try my best,” she said.
Co-worker Nina Brozek thinks Bronson will make Oak Lawn proud.
“She’s a very nice girl. Intelligent. Sweet. Caring. Gets along with everybody. I love her. I enjoy working with her. She’s not just beautiful. She’s very outgoing and has an awesome personality,” Brozek said.
“I think she has a really good chance (to win) She knows how to work a crowd. I’ve seen her do modeling for Hooters before, and at calendar signings. She has that presence about her,” Brozek added.
Bronson will spend a week in Vegas, appearing at various Hooters events with the other entrants.
“I’ve wanted to be in the pageant because it’s an honor being the one girl selected from the Chicago area,” she said.
If you want to help Bronson win the title of Miss Hooters Social, named before the pageant, you can vote for her at www.pageant.hooters.com. The woman getting the most votes wins $2,000.
Win or lose, she will be happy to return to work at the Oak Lawn Hooters with her many friends.
“I love it. I love just being able to come in and see all of my clientele who come in to see me. Throughout the years, you meet a lot of people. They’re all pulling for me,” she said. “And I love being able to do promotions for the company.”