Victoria Smith is a 29-year-old fitness addict, an enthusiastic amateur body builder who’s getting ready to start a job as a flight attendant later this summer. In the meantime, to earn a little extra cash, she applied at the Orlando location of the breastaurant chain The Tilted Kilt, where she says she was rejected because her legs were “too muscular.” This is legal! Completely gross, but legal.
Smith tells Jezebel she went into the Tilted Kilt for three rounds of interviews last week. The first was brief but went well, she says, and she was asked back to try on the Tilted Kilt uniform, a short plaid kilt paired with an equally short white top. For her second interview, she met with assistant manager Samantha Mosca, where she modeled the kilt. In the third round, she met with both Mosca and general manager Scott Gasiorowski.
Smith tried on a medium-sized kilt, but Gasiorowski noticed that it had no button on it. He handed her a small and asked her to change. A Kilt employee helped her change in the bathroom, wished her luck, and, to paraphrase what Smith told Jezebel, predicted confidently that with her breasts, she’d probably get the job easily. But the skirt was tiny, Smith says. She posed for a selfie in it while she was in the Kilt’s bathroom:
“I was like, ‘This looks too short, it doesn’t look like I can bend at all,” she says. Gasiorowski, she says, told her when she came out of the bathroom that the length was “fine,” but the way the skirt hung over her hips and legs was all wrong.
“Because it’s a kilt, it has to be straight down,” he said, according to Smith. “It can’t flare out around your hips. It has to hang straight.”
After that, Smith adds, he stared at her legs for a moment, then added, “What sports do you do? Softball?”
Smith replied, with a smile, that she body-builds. Gasiorowski, she says, responded, “Oh yeah, your legs are probably pushing the skirt out. You’re muscular. OK.”
Gasiorowski, she says, “kept emphasizing the legs: ‘You’ve got a great body, but your legs?’” Finally, he told her she was “too muscular” to fit into the skirt, adding that it was “company policy” that it had to hang in a certain way, adding that the fit of the kilt mattered “over personality.”
Smith replied that she was in the process of “shredding” — building muscle and burning fat — and Gasiorowski told her to “come back in 30 days when you’ve lost the weight.”
“It was like a big slap in my face,” Smith says. “There’s no way I can be losing any fat on my legs. They’re all muscle. The only part I would be losing would be – it’s just back and front and in my tummy area. It was just completely insane what I’m hearing.”
At some point in the interview, Smith says, the two managers also showed her a “diagram” of the “perfect” Tilted Kilt Girl, who as far she could see was thin and didn’t have any visible tattoos. Then the interview was over.
“I didn’t even get to talk about my bubbly personality,” she says, a little sadly. She changed into her own clothes and came out to thank them for the interview opportunity, but both Mosca and Gasiorowski had already left.
Gasiorowski didn’t respond to requests for Jezebel’s requests for comment, which we left by phone, email, and Facebook message. Mosca, too, declined to comment. However, she previously spoke to Gawker writer Adam Weinstein, who worked on this story before passing it to us.
To Weinstein, Mosca confirmed that Smith was rejected for not fitting into the skirt correctly.
“She actually just did not fit the costume right,” she told him. “It has to go straight down.” She added: “She tried on the loosest one and that didn’t work out. She tried on the next loosest one and it didn’t work out. She tried on the tightest one and it didn’t work out. She just didn’t fit with the costume.”
“This is corporate policy, and that’s really all I have to say,” Mosca added. Weinstein says she also invited him to return with Smith to demonstrate the ways in which the skirt didn’t “work” on her body.
As a chain, Tilted Kilt employees actually seem to have a wide range of body types. Looking through Facebook photos of employees at various locations, I saw piercings, tattoos and curves, which the “perfect girl” diagram Smith says Mosca showed her would seem to prohibit.
At the same time, it’s perfectly legal for the Tilted Kilt to refuse to employ someone for being too muscular, or too skinny, or for any bad and insulting reason at all. That’s been pretty well-settled in a number of lawsuits against Hooters and against the Borgata Casino. In both cases, a judge ruled that it was legal to fire waitresses for gaining weight (in the Borgata case, the judge actually ruled that the waitresses are “akin to ‘sex objects’”). Hooters also previously fired a waitress after she was beaten up by her boyfriend and was too visibly injured to work.
Smith got into bodybuilding because she was suffering from PTSD, depression and anxiety. She’s trying to keep the incident in perspective, but says it was “humiliating.”
“Is it intimidating or something?” she asks. “A woman’s who’s strong, intelligent and muscular? That’s too much for men now?”
Top image via Instagram