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Local Talent Places In Hooters G-String Quintet - by Ozona Kidd

Janet Layug, representing Lakeland, FL won the 4th place runner up in the recent Miss Hooters International during the 14th Annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant. 

You may remember Janet as she was recently featured in the article Hanging by a String – Backstage at Stroker's Bikini Contest here on whatshottampabay.com (if you saw the article, she's tough to forget).

We knew she would go on to greater things, but congratulations Janet, you outdid yourself - you go girl!

Janet was competing among 100 other contestants who were selected from 455 Hooters Restaurant locations in 29 different countries.  The pageant was held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL and was broadcast live on Spike TV.

Not just another pretty face, and let's be honest that's not the only thing you notice about her in a bikini, Janet competed in a variety of styles from evening gowns to swimsuits. 

Aside from being a colloquial term for the part of the female physique to which the name refers, Hooters is perhaps most famous (or infamous) for demonstrating that guys will put up with drinking beer out of plastic mugs, eating chicken wings at picnic tables and wiping their buffalo sauce smeared, drooling mouths with those little moist towelettes just to be waited on by a beautiful woman in a tight white t-shirt and a pair of skimpy shorts. 

Oh well, I guess that's the way god made us (sigh...)

The contestants were judged by a panel of lucky bastards, err… I mean celebrity judges including: Chelsea Lately's, Chuy Bravo; E! Entertainment host, Michael Yo; reality TV series Survivor star and former Hooters Girl, Jerri Manthey; rock musician, Ryan Cabrera and former member of Pussycat Dolls, Ashley Roberts. The show was hosted by Dan Cortese and back stage co-host Carrie Keagan during the live broadcast live on Spike TV.

This year's contest was quite lucrative with many prizes and opportunities for the top finishers.  The first place prize, awarded to LeAngela Davis, a Hooters Girl from Columbus, Ohio, included $50,000, the cover of Hooters Magazine, and feature roles in national marketing campaigns and TV commercials for the restaurant chain.

In addition to our girl Janet who took home a cool $7,000 with the 4th place runner up were the other finalists including first runner up Rachel Mortenson, representing Phoenix, AZ ($15,000 prize); second runner up Ashleigh Dunn, from Newnan, GA ($10,000) and third place runner up Susan Murray, representing Katy, TX winning $8,000.

Finishing out the top 10 finalists in no particular order are Theresa Trujillo from Campbell, CA; Chelsie Hurst, representing Saginaw, MI; Elizabeth Johnston representing Central Carolina; Tia Jackson from Saugus, MA and Lindsay Way representing Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Finalists who placed 5th through 10th all received $2,000 each, but no flowers! 

What's up with that?

Ms. Photogenic was awarded to Sam Arena representing Hooters of Cumberland, GA in Atlanta, who received a professional photo shoot valued at $5,000. Miss Congeniality was awarded to Jamaica Nicolson from South Africa who received $2,500. In recognition Hooters international expansion, the Miss Hooters World award and $5,000 was given to Naty Gaviria representing Colombia. 

I bet they all got flowers!

Special Thanks to Bill Eadie for photos of Janet Layug, copyright 2010 Bill Eadie Photography

Hooters Top 5 Winners from Left to Right: Susan Murray, Rachel Mortenson, LeAngela Davis, Ashleigh Dunn and Janet Layug.

Hanging By A String – Backstage At Stroker's Bikini Contest - by Ozona Kidd

It's not every day that you walk into a dimly lit backstage room filled with a dozen of Tampa's most beautiful, nubile young women wearing bikini's so small that all 12 of them would have fit into a single front pocket of the oversized jeans I was wearing.

As my eyes struggled to adjust to the light, my photographer, a professional for more than 20 years who has spent thousands of hours surrounded by scantily clad hard bodies while photographing them, must have noticed the slack jawed, deer-in-the headlights look on my face.

He leaned over, struggling to suppress a cheshire-cat grin that despite his best efforts was growing on his face, and he asked me in a low discrete tone "you want a breath mint?"

"Yea right" I said with a slight chuckle trying to hide my humility having not felt that vulnerable around women since I was in puberty.

Business I thought. Back to business, and that's exactly what it was on a Friday night at the monthly Stroker's Billiards Bikini Contest.

The business at hand was perhaps more about showmanship than competition for the photographers, contestants and organizers as they prepared the performance for the packed house in front of the stage on the other side of the curtain.

Stroker's Billiards in West Tampa is one of two locations that are massive entertainment complexes filled with pool tables, dart boards, video games, live entertainment, restaurant and full bar.

The size of the place seems to shrink during the course of the evening as it fills with a neighborhood crowd most of whom are in their 20's and 30's, and the atmosphere morphs into a more intimate, late-night party.

My photographer started clicking away leaving me standing there feeling awkward, but after a few minutes the perfunctory vibe of the organizers, shouting instructions over the din of clicking cameras and chattering contestants as they slathered themselves with baby oil, primped their hair and makeup and adjusted their cleavage, caused my awkwardness to give way to curiosity.

Who are these girls and what do they do when they're not strutting around on stage in bikinis that barely cover a few square inches of their oil covered bodies?

One of the contestants, Liz Chen a psychology major at USF, was kind enough to fill me in on the whole bikini contest biz and give some insight into the experience of what it's like to strut your stuff under a hot spot light in front of a whooping audience of hollering spectators while wearing nothing but a bikini that weighs less than an ounce and a pair of 4 inch heels.

"The adrenalin rush is almost intoxicating" Liz explained with a smile that continued to widen as she thought more about it. "It's an amazing feeling… pure ego gratification when your under the lights… it's definitely addictive," she continued, and Liz would know. As a psychology student, she gave me some good insight into the various reasons that motivated the different contestants to participate."Money is a big part of it," Liz told me. "A lot of these girls are students like myself, and let's face it, when you're a full time student it's tough to make ends meet.

"Some of the contestants have children, I was amazed to discover. "You see that girl over there?" Liz was discretely pointing to a woman in a cobalt blue thong with a body that looked like it was chiseled out of marble. "She's got a kid, can you believe it? I mean she doesn't have an ounce of cellulite on her body!" she continued with a sense of bemused incredulity.

Indeed, I learned from talking to others backstage including Marketing Entrepreneur for Stroker's Vernon Lee, the diversity of the women in the contest was as varied as the styles and colors of the bathing suits they were wearing.

One contestant from Switzerland is fluent in French, German, and Italian, two are from different islands in the Caribbean, another is a legal assistant, many were dancers at one time or another and all of them have modeling experience.

Perhaps the most fascinating background was Helena who recently moved to Florida from upstate New York. A former radio talk-show host and petite blonde with a powerful athletic physique, Helena came to Florida to further her career as a professional wrestler while attending a wrestling academy in Kissimmee. She's also recently started learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as she prepares to test her mettle in the emerging sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

There's nothing more sobering than interviewing a beautiful blonde in a bikini who could kick your ass if she wanted to without breaking a sweat.

The contest went on for a few hours after the initial backstage preparation. There's a lot more to a bikini competition than you might think.

The show starts with all the contestants going onstage together for an initial introduction. Then each goes out individually and struts their stuff while the MC reads their profile and adds his own sexual innuendo to the contestants self described list of likes and dislikes.

In addition to the stunning beauty of the tan, rock-hard physique of the ideal female body, the smiles and charisma of each contestant build the energy of the audience into a sustained frenzy.

After a few rounds of voting, the field of contestants is narrowed. Each round follows the same format with the group that made the cut going on stage together and then again individually.

Finally, a winner was selected. Disney won this competition and she proudly took the stage to claim her victory and $400 prize.

To the packed house at Stroker's Billiards, I'm not sure the outcome of the competition mattered all that much, at least, not as much as it did to the girls who were competing for the prizes. Second, third and fourth place paid $300, $200, and $100. No, for the audience it was all about the show, and quite a show it was.

"There's nothing more painful than passing a beautiful woman walking in the opposite direction," Henry Miller wrote in the Tropic of Capricorn. While that's true, there's nothing more enjoyable than spending an evening chatting with room full of bikini clad beauties and experiencing the energy of their performance vicariously through them. All the more reason not to miss a bikini contest at Stroker's!

Special Thanks to Bill Eadie for all photos, copyright 2010 Bill Eadie Photography

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