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Give a Hoot


Hooters employee Kaylee Farris repping Oklahoma in chain's 'DreamGirl' TV competition.

Rod Lott January 20th, 2012

After helping raise millions for charity, doesn't Kaylee Farris deserve $10,000 of her own?

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The 25-year-old Missouri native currently represents Oklahoma as one of 16 women competing for the title of "Hooters DreamGirl." Shot in Aruba, the reality series airs on Speed, but the first episode will replay at 11:59 p.m. Sunday and 5 p.m. Wednesday on Fuel TV.

Come Feb. 11, only two ladies will be left standing; one will win $10,000 and the cover of Hooters Magazine.

Naturally, with enough clicks of support, Farris hopes that will be she.

"I've had the opportunity to experience almost everything with the company, from traveling internationally to open stores to competing in pageants and all that fun stuff," she said, "but I think this would be a great way to complete my Hooters experience. This would definitely top it off."

'TOUGH COMPETITION'
With the company for nearly five years, Farris works as a regional trainer coordinator and in-store training coordinator, a full-time job that often takes her from her home base of Fort Smith, Ark., to all of the chain's locations in Oklahoma, not to mention the occasional faraway place like the United Kingdom or South Africa.

She's a face of the company, both in person and on paper … and now on television. After competing in two Hooters International Swimsuit Pageants, gracing two billboards, and being featured in six magazines and two calendars, she could be the 2012 DreamGirl. Strangely, it wasn't something for which she even applied.

"It was a surprise, actually," Farris said, noting her manager had informed her of being selected for the show, which she did not believe. "I told him that was a mean joke, because I had no idea. I didn't try out, nothing."

Flying to Aruba in November, she and her 15 fellow competitors had to run relay races, play volleyball and, yes, don bikinis — all to determine their spot on the Hooters DreamGirl bracket. Visitors to foxsports.com/hooters can vote for their favorite females once every 24 hours.

"I'm up against some tough competition," Farris said, but she said her family provides a wealth of support. "They all think they're my No. 1 fan."

INDEPENDENCE DAYS
Luckily, Farris said she hasn't met too many detractors who find such competitions — or the very idea of Hooters — to be demeaning to women.

"I understand it's not for everybody. I don't take it to heart. If I took those negative comments to heart, I wouldn't be where I am today," she said. "I don't regret anything. We raise millions of dollars for charity every year. We get involved in national and local charities in the community. If anything, Hooters empowers their women to be independent, confident women."

She applied to be a waitress at Hooters while in college, despite "having no restaurant experience whatsoever. I just needed money to buy books and put myself through school." 

A bonus, Farris said, was that the company engages in a lot of charity work, one of her favorite things to do, from breast cancer awareness to Special Olympics.

"I've raised tons of money for charity," she said. "I got to pack 20,000 meals to send over to Haiti relief last year. There's so much more about [Hooters] than what people even know. I'm glad I found the confidence and courage to apply, because I've experienced things I'll take with me after Hooters, for the rest of my life."

Just when "after Hooters" is, however, remains unknown.

"I haven't decided when or if I'll hang up my orange shorts," Farris said. "I want to do this forever."
 
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