Hooters pageant winner Chelsea Morgensen: It empowers me

Chelsea Morgensen is heating things up faster than a plate of wings these days — the reigning 2017 Miss Hooters International is serving up the sizzling 2018 calendar as its new cover girl.

And it’s for a good cause. Since October, $1 from each calendar goes to Give A Hoot, a campaign supporting breast cancer research.

Fox News spoke with the Texas native living in Hollywood about appearing in the latest Hooters calendar, how she was hired by the restaurant and the one talent she loves to show off:

Fox News: Can you describe that moment when you saw yourself on the cover for the first time?
Chelsea Morgensen: My managers first told me I was going to be doing a TV appearance, but instead they were actually surprising me with my cover. The entire restaurant was chanting my name as I came downstairs. I had no idea what was going on. And then they finally showed me the cover… I loved it. I just really loved my picture! I was so excited, the whole restaurant was cheering for me… But it didn’t actually hit me until… I saw the physical, actual calendar. I just thought, ‘Wow, this actually happened.’

Fox News: When did you first became involved with Hooters?
Morgensen: I started working for Hooters in April 2015. I was actually just eating at Hooters because I love their wings and thought, ‘You know, I really need a job. I wonder if they’re hiring.’ I asked the Hooters girl there and she said, ‘Yeah! Stop in tomorrow and meet our manager.’ I went in… They pretty much hired me on the spot. It was pretty exciting. I was a bit overwhelmed, but I am glad that I pursued it. It’s been the best job I’ve ever had.

Fox News: How has working at Hooters helped you build self-confidence?
Morgensen: Just having to interact with people every day, especially working in Hollywood, people come from all over the country… I had to open up and talk to everybody. Being outgoing just in the workplace encouraged me to get out more in my regular life.

Fox News: What’s your relationship like with your customers?
Morgensen: In Hollywood, we actually have very few regulars… It’s always new customers. But recently — and I’m so excited about this — I actually created two regulars of my own that now frequent the restaurant, which is really cool!

My relationships with them are very friendly. We talk about work, travel, careers. I’m modeling and acting now, so they’re always really curious about what that’s like and see how I’m doing… If they’re ever having a down day, I try to turn it around for them. I really like having that familiar face come in. And I hope to create more of them.

Fox News: Have you interacted with any celebrities?
Morgensen: I personally have not that I know of, but there are some celebrities that come in. I know we had a football player one time who came in and ordered one of everything on the entire menu… We do have some celebrities who come in every now and then.

Fox News: Some people believe Hooters depicts women in a negative light. How do you respond to the criticism?
Morgensen: Honestly, I haven’t experienced any incidents of negativity. It has done nothing but empowered me. It has given me so much more confidence. And all the girls that work there are amazing. There are girls going to school to become nurses, become lawyers, to be doctors… I think it’s a great job… It gives you that ability to talk to anybody… I have had nothing, but positive experiences working with Hooters.

Fox News: Are there any misconceptions you feel people have that just aren’t true?
Morgensen: I think a lot of people need to visit Hooters and see it for themselves. Hooters is a great family-oriented restaurant. Families bring their kids all the time and they absolutely love it. They have a blast. So if someone has any misconceptions, they just need to come to Hooters and experience it for themselves.

Fox News: Before Hooters, you were a pageant girl in 2009. What was that like?
Morgensen: I was a tomboy my whole life… But I was tall and thin, so people would always tell me that I should model. A friend of my mom's told me there was a beauty pageant coming up and I should compete in it. It was part of the Miss Universe organization… It was in my hometown of Texas, so I competed there and ended up winning… I was so surprised, I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into… It actually led me to Hollywood and that’s where I wanted to end up.

Fox News: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever had to do for a good photo?
Morgensen: I was in New York and shooting a summer line for a purse collection. It was about five degrees outside. It was also raining. I was wearing a tank top with strappy heels and little capri pants. I was just wearing that while walking around the street as photos were being taken of the purses. It was so, so cold. I couldn’t feel my body or anything. But that’s how it is in this industry. It’s all over the place, but I love it.

Fox News: What are some other fun facts our readers should know about you?
Morgensen: I can sing and talk in a Chipmunk voice! I discovered this talent about five years ago. I’m also a world champion basketball player. I won a major tournament when I was in third grade. And I just love staying active. Whether it’s rock climbing, kickboxing – anything, I just love it.