Miss Hooters 2018 aims to be a stereotype
Hooters pageant winner Laiken Baumgartner calls give the restaurant a new look and how it feels to have won.
Laiken Baumgartner has earned many bragging rights as the newly crowned 2018 Miss Hooters International.
The 20-year-old Georgia native was among the 80 other Hooters girls compete for the sports bar and restaurant chain the 22nd annual parade. Not only is Baumgartner’s latest brand ambassador, but she also received a whopping $ 30,000 price.
The two-time calendar girl spoke with Fox News about her greatest honor, why Hooters is really the place to be for the families and the reason why they are probably not the pursuit of Sports Illustrated anytime soon.
Fox News: Can you describe that moment when you heard your name and learned you had won?
Laiken Baumgartner: I didn’t think I would win, so I was actually preparing to walk to the side… I was in total shock when they called my name. It hit me two days later that I actually did.
Fox News: Who was the first person that you called?
Baumgartner: I don’t have my phone, but my mother was the first person I tried to get in touch with. I was freaking out. I ended up telling my grandma! But of course, they thought I was competing Miss Georgia Teen USA. I kept telling her, ‘No, it’s Hooters!’
Fox News: What are some misconceptions about Hooters you want to address during your reign?
Baumgartner: That you have to dress or look a certain way. We have our uniforms, but they are not booty shorts. They are very suitable for the many families that come. We wear the same amount of clothing that we wear in the summer, if not more.
Especially if you are training new girls and trying to recruit and select, that you want to create a comfortable environment from the moment they walk. It is very different from the [risque] videos and pictures you can find online. It is not that at all.
There has always been a misconception. We wear our uniforms with pride. They are iconic. We feel in them and we love wearing our short pants… And also, you’re allowed to be an individual. You don’t have to look… We are not all blonde bombshells. I’m definitely not blond and I’m the face of the company.
Fox News: You won $30,000. What is the first thing you plan on doing with that money?
Baumgartner: to Save, to be 100 percent. My training is probably one of the biggest things that are valuable now. And I also think that it is important to give back to the community. That is something I learned very early from Hooters.
For me, the animal shelter is very important. I work at the animal shelter twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday. I go to the discount stores to buy towels and toys. And now that I have this money, that I can give back by offering better food for them.
Fox News: What was it like to grow up in Douglasville, Georgia?
Baumgartner: Douglasville is really the suburbs. I went to a prep school for college, so I graduated with 40 kids… It was simple and sheltered in a way.
You go out to eat or go shopping. That’s really all there is. But when I started working for Hooters, really changed my life. The girls quickly taught me the ropes in getting that little bubble. It was an eye-opening, but definitely fun.
Fox News: What does this title mean to you?
Baumgartner: It means that I have a lot of work for me. And I’m excited. This is something that I always wanted since I began working at Hooters a few years ago. It is something that I’ve been working in the direction of.
I grew up in a small town and Hooters was always a big problem for us. The high school girls, when they graduated, they would be working there if they were still in the city. We are actually not so far from the two great universities… I am as soon as I turned 18, just as many of the college girls. I wanted one of those girls who wore cute uniforms and had so much fun working with their friends… So I did!
Fox News: What is a typical day at work?
Baumgartner: I actually like working in the night shift behind the bar, because it is fast-paced. On Friday and Saturday, Hooters is the place to be! We have not a lot of great bars in the city, so if people want to have fun, they come to our bar.
If you work a day shift, it usually goes a little slower. But you will interact with your guests more. Either way, it is all about smiling at people and greeting them, making them feel at home.
Fox News: How do you deal with the criticism?
Baumgartner: It was difficult at the start… as soon as I joined the company, I started getting more followers on social media, but I was also becoming more and more nasty comments on some of my photos. I really needed a guide. But we have a large sisterhood here. She has really helped me in how to deal with it.
And the most important advice that I’ve learned is that just delete and move on. Not to communicate with them, message them, no comment – nothing. Many of these people creating accounts and taking time out of their personal days bring you down. It took two weeks to get it, but I’m really quite proud of myself. I have read some of the nastiest comments… But I deleted them from my page.
Fox News: are you planning on pursuing the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit in the future?
Baumgartner: I don’t know. That’s not really my thing. Sometimes it is a little too sexy for me. I’m more of a goofy kind of person when it comes to my photos. And I love it. So I don’t know if I’m going to pursue modeling or something like that. I certainly wouldn’t mind if it came my way and found me. I don’t think I’m going to search for it yourself.
Fox News: What are some fun facts that our readers should know about you?
Baumgartner: I’m almost ready to get my pilot’s license. My father loves airplanes and he encouraged me to follow him. So that is something I’ve been working on, since I was about 15. The second thing is that I love to go fishing. I simply prefer that than getting your nails done… I also love water skiing. I’m always on more or I could help.