The University of Montana - Bachelor's Degree, Marketing
askia Boogman is a “World Famous Hooters Girl” and certified corporate trainer for the company. In February of 2009, Saskia started blogging about her life at Hooters on her site, girlandguitar.blogspot.com, which has attracted a huge following. On the site, Saskia aims to change the stigma that the life of a Hooters girl is degrading to women. Instead, she strives to empower women while sharing juicy stories about the things she sees (and experiences) as a waitress at the restaurant. Her blogging even led to an opportunity for her to write for the bi-monthly Hooters Magazine. She is the first Hooters Girl to be asked to write for the publication (sold both in stores and on newsstands nationwide), and her regular contributions will begin to appear with the November/December issue. When she’s not waitressing, training or blogging, Saskia enjoys playing the guitar, reading classics and working on craft projects.
I think women across many industries have to prove themselves in a lot of ways that men don’t necessarily have to.
How did you discover your current job?
I joke that I didn’t find my job as a Hooters Girl -- it found me. I had recently graduated and was unemployed after a post-graduation trip to Europe. I found myself entertaining two male friends visiting from out of town and Hooters seemed like a natural stop before heading to a Griz [the local college football team] game. I was offered a job over a plate of boneless wings that Saturday and was training by Monday.
I fell into the blogging much the same way -- by accident. I decided to start writing the blog more as an exercise in personal expression. Eventually, I began focusing more on my life as a Hooters Girl and noticed a big increase in readership. While it was widely positive, I also realized there were many negative responses to the world of Hooters. I realized the writings of an intelligent, real Hooters Girl could do some small part in breaking the stereotypes related to the job. Suddenly, I was the blogging Hooters Girl.
I was contacted by Aubrey Gray and Jonathan Chaffin of Hooters Magazine in August of this year. Funnily, my initial response was to ask if they were joking. I was quickly reassured that no, they weren’t joking, and I was offered a recurring column in the magazine. My first piece is being released in the November issue.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
Hooters offers a lot of opportunities for you to personalize your job. While being a Hooters Girl is a waitressing position at its core, it is just as reliant on your ability to creatively serve and entertain your guests. My creativity has not only made me thrive as a Hooters Girl, but it’s also the crucial piece to the success of my blog.
I also like to think of myself as the type of person that goes above and beyond whenever possible. Whether you’re a waitress or a marketing executive, hard work and initiative never goes unnoticed. I am extremely dedicated to my work -- whatever it may be.
Also, while I am not in a position that requires a degree, I think my marketing coursework has helped me extensively at Hooters, and it definitely helped me on my blog.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
Not so much at work, but my blog was featured as a Blog of Note in June of 2010. This means that it was the featured blog for Blogger. This attributed to a huge jump in my readership -- sending me from around 100 views a day to nearly 500. In fact, for two straight days my readership was at nearly 10,000. It really put my blog on the map, and the positive response was amazing.
What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?
I work five to six days a week at Hooters. I generally work day shifts that run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Usually this means that I wake up early to go to the gym. Regardless of my schedule, I find that if I work out before I go to work, it makes my whole day just feel better. Then, of course, I get ready for work. All the “getting ready” Hooters requires is probably the part of my job that I like the least. I have to be looking my best every day, regardless of how I’m feeling. This includes having my hair styled, wearing an appropriate amount of makeup and having an immaculate uniform, which can be a challenge when working with wings. Then it’s off to work, which -- minus the random outbursts of hula hooping, singing, dancing and miscellaneous fun -- is pretty much just the typical day of any server.
I do, however, take lots of notes at work for my blog. I’ll jot down situations, quotes or whatever else sparks an idea. Then when I get home, I try to at least start a post as I find the sooner I write things down, the funnier and more vivid they seem to be.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I love that at my job I can make a real connection with my customers. I don’t know of any other serving job where I would be so encouraged to actually sit down with my customers and get to know them. The key to Hooters is the fact that they strive to make every guest feel like a regular, regardless of whether they’ve been in one time or fifty times. They want their waitresses to know peoples’ names and their kids’ names and their dog’s name. It’s really about connection with people, and I think it’s something people really appreciate about Hooters. We offer one-of-a-kind service that stresses individualizing the experience.
I also feel personally rewarded when I see attitudes about Hooters change, whether from my blog or from a visit to the restaurant. Hooters faces a very obvious stereotype that doesn’t accurately reflect what it is. Reading a positive comment on my blog, or having a customer tell me I changed their mind about Hooters, is one of the best parts of my job.
What is the most challenging part?
The most challenging part is easily overcoming the judgment that is so commonly associated with Hooters. It’s a job that -- unfortunately -- stereotypes. This is not so much because a Hooters Girl is a certain thing or a certain type of woman, but rather because people have the wrong understanding of what a Hooters Girl is. I understand why the stereotype exists, but I dislike that the stereotype is perpetuated on rumors rather than personal experiences.
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
My job has taught me so much about people and how to deal with them. While it’s one thing to deal with someone from behind an office desk, it is totally another to serve them. I think the lessons I’ve learned about customer service are just as valuable as some of the things I learned in my college classes.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
In my industry it is definitely challenging to deal with the stereotype that I am not a smart or educated woman. I think women across many industries have to prove themselves in a lot of ways that men don’t necessarily have to. This is especially true at Hooters.
Who are your role models?
In addition to my mother, I look up to a lot of the women who work at the corporate level for Hooters. The vast majority of women in upper-level positions at Hooters began their careers as Hooters Girls. I like knowing that with enough drive there are a lot of lifetime career opportunities with Hooters.
Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
I’m not sure that I live by a quote or specific mantra, but I always say that I am “blindly optimistic.” To me this means that I see a positive in pretty much any situation. I think this has not only helped me overcome a lot of hard situations, but but also it has led me to have a fierce drive even when things seem especially difficult.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
As far as being a Hooters Girl, I tell all my trainees that the most beautiful part of a Hooters Girl is not her face, but her personality. It’s a common misconception that being a Hooters Girl is about a look, but the personality is definitely the most import thing for success.
As far as with blogging, it’s important to maintain consistency both in you writing and in your posting. Regularity is the key to growing a following. And being funny doesn’t hurt either.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It might be important to note that I did indeed have a job for a few months related directly to my major. I sat behind a desk 40 hours a week at the corporate office for a popular Mongolian restaurant here in town. They paid me $10.25 an hour, and I was miserable trying to impress them. It was an impossible task. Eventually, due to budget cuts, they let me go, and I returned to Hooters. I realized then how much I loved my job and how at 20-something it wasn’t that important if I didn’t have the big marketing job I expected myself to have right out of college. I’ll have that one day, but for now I couldn’t be more happy.