Especially in the #MeToo era, Hooters might seem like a prime target for derision. But local applications to be a Hooters Girl are on the rise, said Andrea Hill, managing director at the 33rd Street location of the restaurant chain.
In fact, the women who work there say they feel safer at Hooters than they do outside.
“It’s a controlled environment here,” Victoria Cummings, 24, told The Post. “Unlike the streets and subways.”
Cummings, who grew up on the Upper West Side, has worked at the Manhattan franchise for three years and admitted her mom “had doubts” about her working at a restaurant known for short-shorts and boob euphemisms. But now that Mom’s “seen all the friendships I’ve made,” she’s on board.
The dozen or so women who gathered in Manhattan last week to promote the restaurant’s 2020 calendar call their bond the sisterhood of the orange shorts.
“There’s a stigma [around the chain],” admitted Hill, 38. “But I was in three weddings last year, all Hooters girls. These are lifelong friendships.”
She’s been with the company for almost 18 years — nearly six as an executive in Manhattan and 12 as a Hooters girl in Illinois.
“I went from serving wings to having a seat in the boardroom,” the Harlem resident told The Post. “Sometimes when I meet people, I can see the look on their faces when I say I work at Hooters, but then I change their minds real fast.”
One way is by telling them that $1 of every 2020 calendar sold benefits the Kelly Jo Dowd Breast Cancer Research Fund.
Founded in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, Hooters currently has 411 locations around the world, including in Germany, Spain and Japan. According to a 2017 report by Business Insider, the number of restaurants is down 7%, and sales declined 1.7% between 2017 and 2018, per Technomic data.
But one thing that hasn’t changed are the servers’ 1980s-style uniforms — orange short-shorts, nude shimmery tights, tight white tops.
The clothing is a big part of how Hooters girls earn big tips. YouTuber Christine Di’Amore, who has more than 475,000 subscribers, said in 2016 that when she worked as a Hooters Girl in California, she would take home anywhere from $100 (for a lunch shift) to $400 (on nights when football was on TV).
“The uniform has a Clark Kent/Superman kind of thing,” said Alexandra Dumrauf, 32. “You feel empowered.”
Now a real estate agent, Dumrauf worked in a Tampa-area Hooters from 2008-2013 and was inducted into the 2018 Hooters Hall of Fame — which has 80-plus members, including “Vanderpump Rules” star Brittany Cartwright.
And while some customers can get handsy, the servers say they don’t hesitate to shut it down.
Former Hooters Girls have gone on to be doctors, CEOs and even an Oscar nominee: Amy Adams. The current climate of cancel culture doesn’t seem to exist here.
“I haven’t received any criticisms about working at Hooters,” said 2020 calendar centerfold Gianna Tulio, who has worked at the Boca Raton, Florida, location for three years. “At least not to my face.”