The hottest Hooters event of the summer is coming. And it doesn't have anything to do with chicken wings.
Instead, three Hooters employees, hailing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Raton, will compete in the brand's 24th annual "Miss Hooters International" pageant.
This year's contestants include Uniqua Shantell Burch (Miss Miami), Gianna Tulio (Miss Boca Raton), and Jenise Lebron (Miss Fort Lauderdale). Sloan Miavitz (also pictured above) will represent Sarasota. The women were recently selected from a virtual pageant featuring over 80 contestants culled from more than 400 Hooters locations nationwide.
Burch has worked at Hooters of Doral for close to a decade. "I've always been active in Hooter's charities, promos, and calendar events," Burch tells New Times. 'It's an honor to work for a company that supports you in all aspects beyond just serving. This company gives you a chance to not only showcase your attributes and qualities, but to show the world that we're also mentors, friends, sisters, and companions."
Lebron, a former NHL and NFL cheerleader, has worked at Hooters of Cypress Creek in Fort Lauderdale for 11 years. The chance to complete in this year's pageant fulfills a longtime dream.
"I’ve dreamt of the moment I would be asked to compete and this year my dreams have finally come true," Lebron says. "It means the world to me to be able to compete and show all of those around me that you are truly capable of anything you put your mind to."
This will mark the second time Tulio, who has been working at Hooters Boca Raton for four years, will compete in the pageant. "Being chosen is a good reminder to me that all my hard work, dedication, and passion towards the company do not go unnoticed," she says.
Later this month, in a livestreamed event in Orlando, the women will compete for the title of Miss Hooters International 2021.
LTP Management marketing director Kristi Quarles, operator of several South Florida Hooters restaurants, says the annual pageant gives Hooters girls a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand as the company's brand ambassador.
"This pageant features the most beautiful, well-spoken, philanthropic Hooters girls from around the nation," Quarles tells New Times. "It is important to Hooters because it offers our girls the opportunity to create a once-in-a-lifetime résumé. Once selected as Miss Hooters International, this young woman will represent the brand for one year by traveling around the world to open new Hooters restaurants, participate in marquee events like the Indianapolis 500, and help to raise upwards of $1 million dollars for worthy charities and causes."
In addition to the title and the ambassador obligations, the winner will receive a cash prize of $30,000. She'll also be featured in the Hooters magazine and Hooters calendar.
The 2021 Hooters pageant takes place on Thursday, July 29, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. This year's panel of celebrity judges includes original "Hooters Girl" Lynne Austin, UFC fighter Andrei Arlovski, and competitive-eating world champion Joey Chestnut. They'll judge the contestants based on poise, physical fitness, speaking and interview skills, and overall charm and personality.
According to Quarles, since the pageant began in 1997, Fort Lauderdale has been home to the most pageant winners of any Hooters city, with employees Gemma Sutton, Lindsey Way, Brianna Smith, and Sable Robbert taking home the title in recent years.
Past local winners also include Sunrise resident Briana Smith (Miss Fort Lauderdale, 2019) and Miami finalists Vanessa Ferbeyre of Bayside Hooters, Juliete Cabrerra of Doral Hooters, and Allison Calderon of Hialeah Hooters.
Tickets for the live event can be purchased online via Eventbrite for $25 per person. All tickets are for general admission at 7 p.m. and are standing room only. For more information, visit hootersflorida.com or visit your local Hooters restaurant to watch the livestream.