Tuesday, 15 April 2008

America's Got Talent - The Dancing Pizza Girl!

Dancing Pizza girlClick here for video of the Dancing Pizza Girl.

All Jessica Kushner needs to do her job is her MP3 player and a cardboard sign advertising $5 pizzas.

The 30-year-old Charleston woman was hired by the Domino's Pizza on Cantley Drive a few months ago for the sole purpose of dancing along nearby U.S. 119 while promoting the outlet's Fresh-N-Ready pizzas.

Calling her shuffling and bee-bopping 'dancing' may be questionable, but her cheery presence seems to delight passing motorists.

From 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, you can usually count on seeing the self-proclaimed Domino's Dancing Queen if you've turned onto U.S. 119 from MacCorkle Avenue.

Drivers and passengers turn to look as if they're staring at some sort of roadside attraction. Most of them smile.

She gets a lot of honks and waves. And some not-so-friendly gestures.
"I get a lot of smiles and honks," Kushner said, "and the occasional middle finger. That's expected."

Kushner thinks she's had a few expletives and sexually insensitive remarks hurled at her, but she tries tuning it out with her digital music player. She just smiles and continues dancing in her Domino's visor and blue work shirt.

Once in a while, a pizza deliverer from a competing chain will drive by and playfully make a cross symbol with their fingers.

"People recognize me now," she said. "They know who I am. It's like saying 'Hey' to your neighbor."

Pizza shops have hired employees before to stand alongside traffic with signs hyping the latest deals. But none have taken it to a fun-filled level quite like Kushner.

If it's pouring rain, it doesn't matter. Kushner is still out there.

She recently donned a poncho to strut her stuff in an open rainstorm after her manager advised her not to go out.

"I don't care what the weather's like," she said. "I'm just out here trying to be silly and trying to get people thinking about Domino's Pizza."

When she first started her job, Kushner just stood and held the sign. That got tiresome.
She started cramming her MP3 player with some fresh-n-ready tunes to liven up her duties along the road.

"I'm not just going to stand out here," she said. "I get down and gritty."

On the job, she listens mostly to dance, rap and R&B music. Artists like 50-Cent, Eminem, Fergie and Nelly, what the hip kids listen to, she said.

A heavy metal song popped up on her music player on a warm, sunny day this week and she quickly skipped it.

"I can only headbang to that," she quipped.

She ends her shifts by working two or three hours back in the kitchen making pizzas. She prefers her outside job.

Before joining Domino's, Kushner worked at Subway and Family Dollar. She's an on-again, off-again student majoring in communications at West Virginia State University.

Kushner said she hasn't had to encounter really treacherous weather yet. But not even a few weeks into spring, she's already suffered stinging sunburns on her legs. She wore long pants the next day to cover up the burns.

She'll occasionally put on a pair of shorts.

"But not short shorts," she said. "I'm not trying to sell sex."

So how can someone with a job that could be perceived as demeaning treat it seriously and with such cheer?

"I thrive on peoples' smiles," Kushner said. "I try to be happy. Everyone has their bad days. But I haven't had one out here yet."

Maybe it has something to do with her caffeine intake. Her daily prework routine consists of a few cups of coffee and a couple cans of energy drinks.

While some passers-by may think she's goofy, the same could be said for some of the motorists flying by.

"Don't think I can't see you picking your nose," she said. "Because I've seen it. A lot of people talk on their cell phones, too, with one hand. Then they'll take their other hand off the steering wheel and wave at me. I'm like, 'No, don't do that! You'll get in an accident!'"

Charleston Daily Mail

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