Oak Forest native Jessica Hauss is enjoying a glamorous taste of a model's life —photo shoots in Miami, pageant rehearsals and the chance to appear on national television.
And it's all happened without her having a shred of experience modeling. But due to an appearance in a corporate calendar for Hooters, where Hauss works full-time, she now is competing against 100 other employees to be Miss Hooters International.
The title is awarded annually to one Hooters Girl during the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant. During her reign, the winner will be the official spokesperson and personality for Hooters, according to the company's website. She will be featured on Hooters national TV commercials, billboards, Hooters Magazine, Hooters Calendar, as well as represent the brand through various events and charitable initiatives.
Hauss, 19, was selected to compete from her photos from the calendar shoot, which was completely unintentional on her part.
But when the opportunity came, she grabbed it.
"It's awesome," Hauss told Patch from Miami during a phone interview on Tuesday, June 19. "I never thought it would be me here doing this."
In addition to the title, Hauss could win more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. The pageant will air at 9 p.m./10 p.m. EST Saturday, June 23 on FX. Supporters can cast their vote for Hauss now in the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant Viewers Choice and keep up with Hauss' progress on Facebook.
Hauss is a graduate of . She eventually wants a career in sports therapy and is pursuing certification at the National Academy of Sports Medicine in Chicago.
She feels very lucky to have the experience. "Girls all over the world would love to be where I am," Hauss said. "I just really think all my hard work and dedication paid off."
So her advice to those other girls?
"Try something new," she urged. "Get out of what you're used to."