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A homebody at Hooters

Erica Burgess
Photo by Jeff Deese.
William Faulkner's writings were world-famous, but he was a very private person, and he spent most of his life in a small town in Mississippi. His shyness became legendary to book lovers. During World War II, a young soldier stationed in Mississippi spent a weekend pass hitchhiking to Faulkner's hometown, hoping just to catch a glimpse of him.

The soldier stopped for a bite in the first cafe he saw, and he asked his waitress if she had ever heard of a local fellow named William Faulkner. "Yes," she said, "he's my husband." She introduced the two men that day, and they became lifelong friends.

Do you like such small-town miracles? Well, we have one that's more recent, and it also involves a pleasant dining experience. In spring 2003, a PNB reporter visited Conyers, Ga., the friendly, bustling town that Erica Burgess was representing when she was crowned Miss Hooters International in Las Vegas in July 2002.

Erica Burgess

Photo by Jeff Deese
Erica Burgess
Photo by Jeff Deese.
The reporter had an interesting idea. Why not stop by the local Hooters, the place where Ms. Burgess got her start? He might hear some interesting background on one of America's most voluptuous and recognizable beauty queens.

And who greeted him at the door? Yes it was Miss Hooters International herself, the unmistakable Ms. Burgess, dressed in the classic Hooters outfit.

This was too perfect to be true. The reigning queen of all the Hooters beauties, who has made personal appearances in more time zones than you can count on your fingers, was working a shift in the same restaurant, in the same small town, where she got her start.

Winning the title
Photo by Todd Ferren.
Erica Burgess
Photo by Jeff Deese.
 Erica Burgess
Photo by Jeff Deese.
"You're still a waitress?" the reporter asked.

"I'm a trainer," she replied cheerily, pointing to a small tag on her uniform. But she made clear that she still serves food and beverages with a smile, just like her Hooters sisters around the world.

Ms. Burgess, who gives up her crown in July 2003, continues to spend a lot of her time traveling. But Conyers is her hometown, and that means a lot to her. The Conyers Hooters will always be a special part of her life.
 Magazine cover
Photo by Don Sparks.
Erica Burgess
Photo by Don Sparks.
Erica Burgess
Photo by Jeff Deese.
Unfortunately for the home folks, she won't be staying in Georgia forever. Being Miss Hooters International has expanded her modeling opportunities, and Ms. Burgess is planning a move to Southern California. By the time she ends her reign, she will probably be a West Coast girl.

Movie and TV parts can't be far away for this beauty. The woman who wowed the judges in Las Vegas is even more impressive in person, with a down-to-earth presence that's equally real whether she's serving a soft drink or signing an autograph.

As Ms. Hooters International 2002, Ms. Burgess has probably met more of her public than any major beauty queen in the world. She's also one of the most personable pageant stars we've ever encountered.

And would you like fries with that? Of course you would.

Also see our previous Hooters coverage

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