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Cape woman named ‘fan favorite’ in swimsuit competition

March 23, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

One Cape Coral woman was the "fan favorite" choice at a popular competition last weekend, which, she said, boosted her confidence.

"I was lucky enough out of 12 beautiful girls . . . I got fan favorite," Mariah Materiale said of the Hooters' swimsuit contest. "A lot of my family was supporting me and my friends."

She received a nice sash and flowers, as well as $100 for being voted Hooters Fan Favorite.

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Cape Coral’s Mariah Materiale, center, was named Hooters Fan Favorite, this past weekend at the local swimsuit contest in Fort Myers.

The Friday, March 16, local swimsuit contest took place at the Hooters in Fort Myers. The contest featured a St. Patrick's Day themed costume contest, as well as a green or white swimsuit contest.

"This is my fourth year now competing every year in the contest," Materiale said. "It gives you a little bit of confidence that you don't think you have. You get up there and feel good. It's fun. I have made such good friends from it. We have become sisters for all the hard word we do to prepare for it."

There are five contests total in a year, with two on the east coast of Florida, which she has attended.

She participates in the contests to get noticed and hopefully be sent to the Hooters annual International Swimsuit Pageant, which is held in Las Vegas.

The Hooters girl contestants are competing for the 2018 Miss Hooters International Title, and a $30,000 cash prize and an opportunity to serve as the face of the Hooters brand. The winner will be a brand ambassador and spokesperson enabling her to travel to assist in international openings, as well as make appearances on national advertisements and make contributions to marketing initiatives.

"That is everyone's ultimate goal. I was lucky enough last year to be picked," Materiale said of being one of four girls chosen from the whole franchise to attend the International Swimsuit Pageant. "It was the best experience I have every had. They pay for everything."

The week-long trip provided lots of rehearsals of how to walk on stage.

Eighty girls from all around the world attended the international pageant.

"It made me more outgoing and be able to talk to people more," she said. "The contest brings out my confidence."

Her roommate while in Las Vegas was from a Hooters in Japan. Materiale said it was great learning about her culture.

"I haven't traveled much. I'm kind of in my own bubble in Cape Coral," she said.

She spends about a month preparing for the contests by practicing poses, working out and doing spray tanning.

"Every year the competition gets harder," Materiale said.

The contest includes a costume round, which always features a different theme, as well as a swimsuit contest.

"It's so cool to see the creativity," she said of the costume round. "It's pretty intense."

Her costume for the St. Patrick's Day theme included glitter letters spelling out Hooters that she wore on the back of her belt, as well as green rhinestones heals.

Fans can join Materiale this weekend for another round of competitions at the Hooters of Naples, 3625 Gateway Lane, at 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, and at Hooters of Sarasota at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 24, 6507 S. Tamiami Trail. The theme is "Nerd" in honor of Dweebs.

"I have already got my costume," she said Monday evening. "Tomorrow I'm going to do the finishing touches and bling it all out and make it sparkly and give it a pop."

She began working at the Cape Coral Hooters five years ago when she was 18 years old. Materiale said her best friend got a job there first, which resulted in her sharing all the great opportunities there are for modeling and marketing.

The job has proven to be a great place to earn money while furthering her schooling. She is studying to be a vet tech.

"I love animals. I actually had an experience," she said of her 4-year-old Pomeranian dog that was diagnosed with two failing kidneys. "The outcome made me learn how to deal with stuff like that. It was a rough experience of trying to take care of her. It made me a stronger person. I want to help animals and give them the best life, even if its not the best outcome."



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