America’s hot wings and hotties emporium Hooters is searching for wide-eyed waitresses to pose for the “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined” chain’s 2013 calendar.
In the quest to find the ultimate Hooters girl, photographer Dylan Melcher and his crew set out across the country this week in a brand-new Chevy Express re-imagined as a vintage wood-paneled station wagon.
“We really decked it out,” Melcher told Fox 411. “We put a vinyl wrapper around the whole thing to make it look like a 1960s California ‘woody.’”
“They were all about that van,” noted Hooters Calendar hopeful Elizabeth Beech of Mobile, Alabama. “They were like, ‘Come look at our van! Take pictures with our van!’ But it was cute.”
A summer beach theme sets the tone for the calendar, which promises to capture the true spirit of the Hooters girl, someone who’s “fun-spirited, energetic and always smiling.”
“It’s fun to see the different personalities across the United States," Melcher said. "The Louisiana girls have those country accents and then you get out to California and the girls have that beach girl attitude. Yet, they’re all Hooters girls, so they have that connection.”
Melcher and his crew will visit 24 cities and shoot over 20,000 photos of 600 girls over the summer.
"Every year, there’s a new group of girls who comes in"
- Photographer Dylan Melcher
“We’re going to put about 8,000 miles on the engine,” said Melcher. “We’re heading out to Los Angeles, Chicago, and back to Florida–and all of the major cities in between. We’re doing a big triangle.”
The most recent stop on the cross-country tour was the backwoods of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“We actually took a swamp tour to this little broken-down shack in the middle of the bayou,” explained Melcher. “It was pretty scary. There were ten-foot ‘gators around. There were no alligators attacks, but the girls posed with a baby alligator – it was about 10” long. They were pretty scared, but they were troopers.”
And this being 2012, Melcher is using social media to document the calendar shoot.
“While we’re on the road, we’ll update fans with what the Hooters girls are up to,” explained Melcher. “We were in Aspen not long ago doing snowboarding, and the girls went out for sushi. So we posted a picture of them eating tuna rolls. We really try to make it really personal and really humanize the girls, so our fans can make the connection with them. It kind of going beyond the photo shoot. For Facebook, we’ll show more of the photo shoot, but with Twitter, we’ll use more for behind-the-scenes stuff–what the girls are up to after the photo shoot.”
The Hooters Calendar was originally created by Melcher’s father, Chuck, back in 1986.
“Every year, there’s a new group of girls who comes in. Even though I keep getting older, they stay the same age–which is perfect," the senior Melcher laughed. "We just keep shooting them.”
And just to make things clear, there’s no hanky-panky taking place in the back of the faux ‘woody.’
“Believe me, it’s loaded with equipment in the back,” the senior Melcher explained. “There’s no mattress or anything back there, okay? This group’s been working with us for 10 years. They’re professionals, we’re really good about that. But they have a lot of fun, and the girls love us.”
“If I was a guy, I would love that job,” said the waitress and nursing student. “I told them, ‘Y’all have, like, the best job ever!’ You just drive around and take pictures of Hooters girls on the beach.” They were like, ‘Yeah, we love it!’”