She’s a hoot!
The original “Hooters girl,” Lynne Austin, is reliving her glory days in a big-haired blast from the past on social media.
Now 61, she’s reminiscing about the skimpy orange shorts and too-tight tees that put the raunchy restaurant on the map. She became the poster model for the chain in 1983 when the first eatery opened in Clearwater, Florida, while also working as a waitress.
The draw of the establishment wasn’t slinging back cold ones and chowing down on a burger — it was the face of the Hooters that drew patrons through the front doors: a petite bombshell with blown-out blond tresses and itty bitty tank top embellished with the logo.
Austin was the lucky gal plucked to pose on the promotional posters, which donned taxi tops, boats, delivery trucks and, of course, billboards. She was the face of Hooters for 15 years, saying the “thrill” truly “never got old.”
“The first time I ever saw the billboard, it was kind of surreal,” Austin told Fox News of her poster fame. “Like, ‘Oh my Lord, there I am, my big ol’ face is up here.’”
For numerous years, customers flocked to the restaurant in the hopes of sitting at one of Austin’s tables. She told the outlet that men would even send her floral arrangements to get her attention, calling it “flattering.”
“Who doesn’t love that? Who doesn’t love people wanting to see you, be around you, and love your personality? Of course I loved it. I still do!” she said. “People still come to me and want a picture with me. And I’m always so flattered and grateful that people still care.”
Now, she’s sharing some of the infamous snaps that paved the way for the iconic American restaurant.
On Instagram, she posted a nearly 40-year-old throwback of the first Hooters girls posed around a jukebox — and the next image was of the “Hooters Girls 2.0” recreating the original.
The official Hooters account showed the post some love, showering the comments with some heart emojis. Other followers joined in on the love, saying they “miss those days.”
“They can try but won’t ever replicate those icons,” wrote one fan.
“LOVE this! (and no way it’s been 40 years already),” chimed in another.
“Those were the good ole days,” commented someone else.
The uniforms don’t look much different from four decades earlier — albeit perhaps they’re a bit more snug — the logo and bright orange shorts remain the staple of the Hooters brand.
Despite criticism over the restaurant’s scantily clad servers and their, err, tight dress code, Austin said she never had a problem with the garb.
“We wore running shorts and a tank top and I get it, that’s not the attire of another restaurant. But you saw way more at the beach then you ever saw in our restaurant,” she said. “We patterned our uniform after one of the owners who was a runner. So we got the runner shorts. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with runners wearing shorts. I’ve never had a problem with it.”
Surrounded by nurses, lawyers, students and aspiring models and actors, the OG Hooters gal bit back at the slimy reputation the chain has received over the years.
In August, the company began the search for employees who have “leveraged their time in the orange shorts to prepare for life beyond the orange shorts” in an attempt to champion the “powerful” women who have soared in their careers beyond their time as a waitress.
“Our accomplishments are remarkable,” she noted. “It’s way more than serving wings and wearing shorts. I’m proud of it.”
Perhaps the sleaze can be chalked-up to the customers who slide into the orange booths. Some waitresses have gone viral online for sharing the most “disrespectful” comments they’ve received on the job.
But the occasional perv could never dim Austin’s love for the place that launched her career and later landed her guest roles on TV and even a meet-and-greet with Hugh Hefner.
“Just about everything I do, Hooters is always my base, my heart,” she gushed. “Any success I’ve ever had, I always brought them along with me. They were a launching pad for me. And the Hooters girl? She’s an icon. All you need to do is see those orange shorts.”
Other former Hooters girls have racked up acclaimed online for squeezing into their cleavage-baring tops and barely-there shorts.
A 35-year-old former waitress named Shannon posted a viral clip on TikTok last year flaunting her old uniform, shocked that it still fit.
“It’s a little snug,” she admitted in the video’s text as she touted the skimpy attire.
Users in the comments told her she still looks “amazing,” adding that she could “outdo” any of the current Hooters girls.
“Still looks amazing! Well done!” exclaimed one eager viewer.
“Looks perfect to me,” agreed another, who then prompted her to wear the outfit as a Halloween costume.