That part felt good. I’d been working really hard and had achieved a body I was proud of; feeling like I fit in was reaffirming. But the body was only the beginning. I also feared cattiness. Put 100 gorgeous women together all vying for the same prestigious crown and drama seems inevitable. I was ready for bitches.
And then I didn’t meet any. Surprisingly, every girl I met seemed legitimately nice (there was of course one exception). It was refreshing to meet woman that were not only beautiful, but genuine as well. There are enough pretty bitches in the world. It was nice to see 99 women who had the pretty part down but left the bitch at home.
|The gorgeous Crystal Cunningham.|
Then I got to meet girls like Crystal Cunningham. I met Crystal from Nashville on my first morning at the pageant. Sitting in the makeup room unsure who I should talk to first and even more unsure how to approach the women getting primped around me, Crystal was the first person I got up the nerve to talk to.
“So how are you feeling about the contest?” I asked after introducing myself and explaining what I was doing.
“Honestly for me it’s the biggest blessing in the world.”
I was taken back by this answer. I had expected something typical. Something about nerves or confidence or excitement. Crystal felt blessed.
And then Crystal’s story came pouring out. The daughter of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed preacher and a first generation Korean, Crystal had been in an terrible car accident in 2007. Crystal, a dedicated dancer, had been traveling a road she thought she knew well. She thought nothing of looking away for a moment to grab something. And that’s about all she clearly remembers. Her car left the road and she ended up slamming into a tree.
There was a time immediately following the accident when Crystal was nearly pronounced dead. While that’s staggering, Crystal also faced the probability of losing her foot – and her ability to dance as well as walk. As she was telling me this, I noted the long scar on her ankle. I had thought it a dancer’s surgery, but this was so much more. Doctors were ready to amputate; yet here was Crystal before me. Three short years later Crystal was not only walking, she was a Miss Hooters International contestant and a dancer for the Nashville Predators. Here was a woman that defined beating the odds.
The last thing I expected when I landed in Miami was to be inspired. But Crystal did that. It wasn’t just her story, but her appreciation for life that touched me. Crystal came from rock bottom and amazingly seemed to appreciate every moment of it. To say it was uplifting would be a vast understatement.
By the end of the week, Crystal had made her way to the Top Ten of the Miss Hooters International Pageant. I cheered loudly as she came forward from the crowd because I knew how much she probably appreciated that moment purely for the fact that she got to experience it. She deserved to be there as much for her perseverance as for her remarkable beauty.
And that’s yet another thing I love about Hooters. Hooters Girls are hardly ever what they seem – a fact that Crystal proves impeccably. What is that? 7,893,456 reasons why I love Hooters?