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Meet 2019 Hooters calendar cover girl Laiken Baumgartner

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Meet 2019 Hooters calendar cover girl Laiken Baumgartner (photo by Doug Vollmer)

Earlier this year at the 22nd annual Hooters International Pageant, held near Charlotte, North Carolina, 80 Hooters girls from around the world competed for the coveted Miss Hooters International title and crown. The winner - and cover girl for the 2019 Hooters calendar - was 20-year-old Laiken Baumgartner of Douglasville, Georgia.

Currently majoring in Apparel Merchandising, Design and Production Management with a double minor in International Business and Science at Auburn University in Alabama, Baumgartner says she was stunned when she was declared Miss Hooters International.

“I really did not think I was going to win this year,” Baumgartner told me during an interview. “I’m only 20, which made me the youngest person ever to win. I expected it would take me a few more years before I would get to this point.”

Baumgartner remembers the moment just before she was declared Miss Hooters International.

“I believed that Rachel Swartz – the runner up - was going to be declared the winner. Just before they revealed the winning name, I said to her ‘Where do I go when they call second place?’ I’m glad that it turned out the way it did because look what came with it.”

Baumgartner received a $30,000 cash prize as well as the coveted cover position of the Hooters 2019 calendar, proceeds from which are designated for research to fight breast cancer.

A second-time calendar girl (she was Miss October in the 2017 edition of the calendar), Baumgartner says the feeling of being chosen as the newest face of the Hooters brand is something she doesn’t take for granted.

“I’m just enjoying every minute of this job which I know is a great resume builder. I can say that I’m a spokesperson for the brand and I help out with their social media. It’s been the most exciting year of my life and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

This year, approximately 3,000 Hooters girls from around the world submitted photos for consideration as a calendar girl. Once selected, the girls travel to a specific location for a week-long photo shoot. This year’s group gathered in the Bahamas with photographer Doug Vollmer, who has shot the calendar for the last 28 years.

“We were there to work but when you’re in the Bahamas for a week, you know you’re going to have some fun, and we did,” Baumgartner said. “You can see how beautiful it was from Doug’s images in the calendar. We all had so much fun together.”

When she isn’t attending class or fulfilling her Hooters duties, Baumgartner volunteers at least two days a week at Lee County Animal Shelter, located near Auburn University, where she walks dogs waiting to be adopted.

“I get as much out of it as the dogs do,” she said. “I’ve always felt that it’s important to work with these animals that are at the shelter through no fault of their own. They are just waiting for the right person to come along.”

One of those dogs found the right person when Baumgartner took her for a walk one day before ultimately signing papers to take her home for good.

“I adopted a boxer/mastiff mix named Harley,” said Baumgartner. “She’s my girl and I feel fortunate to have her in my life. It’s been very therapeutic for me to spend time with these animals and it’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Baumgartner is also passionate about supporting the armed forces of the U.S. military overseas. A day before we spoke, she spent hours with other Hooters girls assembling care packages to be sent to the troops for Christmas.

“We spent the whole day putting these packages together,” she said. “Inside each package is a personal note, some nonperishable food, a bunch of candy, some Christmas gifts and one of the new 2019 Hooters calendars.”

As part of Operation Calendar Drop, calendars are also distributed to local military bases, VFWs, Veterans Administration hospitals and other military-affiliated organizations around the country.

“So far we’ve sent 180,000 of these care packages to our troops overseas,” Baumgartner said. “It’s a little something to brighten their day and a way to say thank you and Merry Christmas.”

The 2019 Hooters calendar is available at www.HootersCalendar.com.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 16:15

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