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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

“Ranch or Bleu Cheese?” is a question I often ask when upselling our original Hooters style wings. However, the question people often ask me when I’m not repping the orange shorts is, “Amanda, you work at Hooters?” They do so in a way that, if I were to ask my customers questions using their same tone, I’d probably be fired. But to answer their weirdly-put question, yes, I do. Me, the raging feminist. Me, with the ‘A’ cup bra. Me, with the 4.0 GPA. I, Amanda, do work at Hooters, and perhaps to their surprise, I did make that choice all on my own. And it’s a choice I don’t regret for one second. Because if I hadn’t made that choice, maybe I too would still be using their tone of voice when asking some of my coworkers why they choose to work there. 

My reasoning behind applying was simple — Hooters was a restaurant that was hiring and I needed a job. I’d be lying if I said that working at Hooters has been just as unextraordinary as my other past jobs. Even though Hooters is a chain restaurant, it’s also an image. It’s a persona of its own making. It would be naive of anyone to think that the men who walk into our restaurant simply come for our signature buffalo shrimp. Not to say that our buffalo shrimp isn’t incentive enough to return, but most people come back to admire the beautiful women that I, for the past month, have had the pleasure of getting to know. Nevertheless, these women are much more than just beautiful. The girls I work with are some of the smartest, most hardworking, supportive girls I have ever met. 

To put things into perspective, Hooters is the first serving job I’ve ever had. Imagine throwing someone who can’t swim into a pool of sharks, but make that person me. To give you an even clearer image, I didn’t even know the difference between craft and draft beer before getting hired. This goes without saying, but my first week of training was the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever experienced. Still, there wasn’t a moment where I felt alone. I barely knew any of my coworkers, yet these girls were constantly supporting me and encouraging me to be myself, and even if I looked lost, they’d lend a helping hand without hesitation. I’ve never worked in such a welcoming environment — even though I’ve only worked at Hooters for about two months, I’ve become so close with these girls in no time. 

Hooters is nothing without its girls; it’s nothing without the image. But this image is often distorted, resulting in the very stigma that perpetuates the side of the condescending attitude that comes when being asked why I willingly became a Hooters girl. There is a stereotype that exists, and this notion is made evident when people tell me I’m too smart to work at Hooters. I’ve even had someone question why “a girl with such self-respect” would want to put myself in such a “degrading” environment. The truth is, I’m a girl with a visible body. I get catcalled almost every day of my life; I even had someone grope me at my own high school graduation. But, now, I get paid a substantial amount of money. Money that goes towards my rent, my education and my car. I have never in my life felt so much in control. I’m not allowing men to catcall me at work for tips. In fact, I haven’t had one customer whistle at me or make kissy noises at me. Even in the potential instances that can come about while working at Hooters, I get to say if, when and how things happen. The first day I started working, my manager made it very clear to me that Hooters is a company that will protect its girls at all costs. He looked me right in my eyes and told me that if I ever — even just for a second — felt uncomfortable by how a customer was acting, that they would ask that person to leave. No apology, no explanation and no excuse would be tolerated. And since working there, no excuse has.

So, yes, for the last time, I do work at Hooters. And I am proud to be “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.”

Amanda Saavedra is a soon to be Alumni of the University of Central Florida this coming May 2023! Her passions include living, laughing, and loving... but her favorite activity is getting to meet new people as well as enjoy the company of those dearest to her. She is majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in Medical Sociology and is enthusiastic of what is to come after graduation.
UCF Contributor