2012-03-29 / Columns

My interview to be a Hooters Girl

Commentary
By Carissa Marsh


TALENT SEARCH—The soon-to-open Hooters of Thousand Oaks held a job hiring event last weekend at its future location near the Janss Marketplace. Among the more than 400 women who interviewed to be a Hooters Girl was one Carissa Marsh, Acorn reporter. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers TALENT SEARCH—The soon-to-open Hooters of Thousand Oaks held a job hiring event last weekend at its future location near the Janss Marketplace. Among the more than 400 women who interviewed to be a Hooters Girl was one Carissa Marsh, Acorn reporter. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers My nerves are getting the best of me. I have a job interview and none of my modest blouses or frilly frocks is quite right for the position.

You see, the job is a far cry from what I’m used to.

I’m applying to be a Hooters Girl.

Why, you ask? Well, it was my editor’s bright idea.

After hearing that Hooters, which is coming to 401 N. Moorpark Road in the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks, would be holding a job fair March 22 to 24 at the restaurant site, he sent me a text that went something like: “I’ve got a great idea for a story. . . . I’m sending you undercover . . . Please don’t say no yet.”


Carissa Marsh Carissa Marsh I knew I was in trouble.

The assignment was simple: Go in, fill out an application and see what happens. Then write about your experience. I wasn’t to lie about my position at the Acorn, just leave that information out. And of course if I were offered the job, I wasn’t going to take it.

I think anyone who knows me would find the idea of me as a Hooters Girl laughable. Maybe it’s just my insecurities that are talking. Okay, it is my insecurities talking. But let’s be real: I do not have the stereotypical Hooters look.

I’m tall, pale, blond but not bleach blond, curvy but not in the top-heavy way, and a bit uncomfortable in my own skin at times, which is why choosing an outfit for the assignment became such a dilemma.

For guidance on Saturday, I referred back to the job notice describing the Hooters Girl image as based off of “cheerleaders, surfer girls and the girl next door.”


REAL APPLICANTS—Newbury Park resident Amanda Pengelley, front, and Oxnard resident Sarah Mendez fill out applications for Hooters Thousand Oaks on the final day of the restaurant’s threeday hiring event at their new location on Moorpark Road. 
IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers REAL APPLICANTS—Newbury Park resident Amanda Pengelley, front, and Oxnard resident Sarah Mendez fill out applications for Hooters Thousand Oaks on the final day of the restaurant’s threeday hiring event at their new location on Moorpark Road. IRIS SMOOT/Acorn Newspapers I definitely don’t fit the cheerleader or surfer girl mold—the best I can hope for is girl next door, I thought. But do they mean girl next door a la Joey Potter from “Dawson’s Creek” or are they talking more of the Holly-Kendra- Bridget bunny variety?

Ultimately, I select a colorful dress—which I belt and top with a cropped white sweater—and a pair of brown boots. It’s very me, not very Hooters, but, alas, I am on my way.

When I pull up to the building— formerly the home of Fuddruckers and now undergoing a remodel to suit the needs of its new owner— I’m surprised by what I find—or don’t. The ad said the company was seeking about 100 Hooters Girls, so I’d envisioned a line of scantily clad women eagerly awaiting their audition, er, interview.

Instead, there are a mere 10 or so applicants, all dressed casually, in jeans and T-shirts. (I later find out that about 180 people came out Thursday and 160 on Friday.)

As I walk up, I’m greeted by a young woman wearing a Hooters shirt. She hands me an application requesting the usual: name, contact information, education.

I’m called over to a table just outside the restaurant doors for my “prescreening interview.”

The conversation begins: Have you ever been to Hooters before? Yes, once or twice. So you are aware of the Hooters Girl uniform, the tank top and the orange shorts? Yep, I’m aware.

Do you have any tattoos that would show when wearing the uniform? No, the white ’80sstyle scrunchy sock will cover the one on my foot. Do you have any piercings that would show, other than the ones in your ears?

Nope.

All valid questions. We also talk about my restaurant experience, and I find out the T.O. location is slated to open April 30.

But as we’re wrapping up, I realize that some of the other ap- plicants are being taken inside the restaurant for their int erview— including a slim and confident-looking woman who was called ahead of me. She’s wearing a tank, dark skinny jeans and sky-high black stiletto booties. The man—a manager?— who meets her for her interview even makes the comment, “Nice shoes.”

I wonder, if I looked more like her, dressed more like her, had done my hair or makeup differently, would I have made it inside? Is that where the “serious candidates” go?

I guess I’ll never know.

In the end, the experience turned out to be largely uneventful. No, they didn’t ask me to try on the uniform. Nor did they ask me if I was comfortable “flirting” with customers to earn better tips. It was, as interviews in the food industry go, pretty regular.

But maybe that is telling, too, especially for those residents who’ve been conc erned about a Hooters moving into the community.

Perhaps, the restaurant won’t be a degradation of Thousand Oaks’ family values. After all, when you strip away those orange shorts—no pun intended— it’s really just a sports bar.

So you don’t like the idea of pretty girls in booty shorts delivering plates of hot wings and frosty mugs of beer? That’s understandable.

But there’s a simple answer for parents looking to dine out with their impressionable young kids: Just don’t go.

As for me? Well, I just may stop by after Hooters opens. I like their fried pickles, but more than that I’m curious to see who made the cut.

My boyfriend won’t be jealous if I go without him—he doesn’t like the food. And luckily, he says he has all the Hooters Girl he needs at home.

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