Elva Villarreal, who works at Utah’s only Hooters restaurant, in Midvale, is in Miami this week in preparation for the 16th-annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant (Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m., FX). She’ll be vying against 100 other Hooters Girls for $50,000 and fame in national Hooters commercials. Villarreal is also up for the viewers’ choice award (HootersViewersChoice2012.com), worth $5,000.
How did you make it to the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant?
Hooters does an annual bikini contest within each store for all the girls to compete in. This year’s was held at The Puck, in April. It consisted of three rounds: Hooter Girl uniform, cocktail and bikini. The judges were players from Real Salt Lake and the band Royal Bliss. I won the competition and was crowned Miss Hooters Utah 2012, earning the chance to represent Utah in the 16th-annual Hooters International Pageant.
What will you doing in the week you’ll be in Miami before the pageant?
I’ll be in Miami for 10 days. I will have rehearsal every day in preparation for the actual pageant to be aired Saturday, June 23, on FX at 8 p.m. I’ll also be doing photo shoots for the calendar, magazine and other various advertisements. There will be a day of service that will give all the girls a chance to give back, as well as promos to appear at.
Are you nervous for pageant day?
I’m not sure what pageant day will be like, but I imagine a cluster of hungry girls running around spraying tans and hair products everywhere. I’ll probably be one of them and very nervous to trip over myself.
How did you get a job at Hooters?
I’ve been employed with Hooters for two years and four months, shortly after moving from Texas. I was driving around job hunting, had applied at several Starbucks—but no callbacks. I’ve always been a fan of the restaurant from back home, and I thought to apply just looking for a fun, easy-going job. I interviewed two weeks later and was offered a job.
Do you ever deal with odd reactions or comments when you tell people you work at Hooters?
Yes, I do. People who have dined in are cool and accepting. People who have not dined in are put off and often compare us to strippers; they are fine entertainers, but that’s not what I do. I serve food to couples, singles and families of all ages, sexes and religions. I entertain with kindness, sarcastic humor and a coy smile. I’d invite everyone who hasn’t experienced Hooters to come and see for themselves the family-friendly restaurant. We are a rare breed of girls who know how to have fun in suntan, nylons and ’80s scrunched socks.
What’s your favorite Hooters menu item?
My favorite menu item would be the training burgers. Hold the pickle and loaded with lettuce, tomato and onion.
Who are you rooting for in the NBA Finals now that the Spurs are out?
Being from San Antonio I love my Spurs, but I gotta hand it to OKC because they are a great team, so I’ll be rooting for them. To catch a finals game would be off the chart, but with my crazy itinerary, chances are doubtful.
What brought you to Utah from San Antonio?
I’ve lived in Utah for two years and seven months. I originally came out for an extended visit of three to six months to snowboard and get away. I’ve just become too lazy to drive back and fell in love with Utah’s great outdoors.