When you think of Miss America, I think it would probably be a safe bet to to say that the farthest thing on your mind would be a tattooed, deer-hunting, soldier. Well Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail is ready to shatter that.
The Miss America Pageant won’t know what hit it when it lays eyes on Miss Kansas, Sgt. Theresa Vail.
Once the competition’s preliminaries begin in Atlantic City, N.J., on Tuesday, Sept. 10, Vail will be the second contestant in the military to compete (Miss Utah 2007 was a combat medic in the Army National Guard).
But when she struts down Boardwalk Hall in her bikini, she’ll be breaking a long-standing taboo with her two giant tattoos – the insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder and the Serenity Prayer running down her right side.
“Why am I choosing to bear my tattoos?” Vail says. “My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink. How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can’t do the same? I am who I am, tattoos and all.”
And from her blog, Theresa Vail’s reasoning for being a tattooed beauty queen:
Now, many still believe that Miss America is apple pie and pearls. However, in the job description of Miss America it clearly states that “she must represent contemporary women between the ages of 17-24.” The operative word here is “contemporary,” synonymous with modern! 1 in 5 Americans have at least 1 tattoo. If I were crowned Miss America, bearing my tattoos, do you realize the stereotypes and stigmas it would break? Do you realize it would pave a path for a whole new audience to compete in the Miss America Organization? As of right now, the stigma is girls with visible tattoos do not compete in pageants, and certainly do not win. I want to break that. I am a traditionalist, I am conservative and I am a God-fearing woman. Having tattoos does not negate any of those. Think about it.
I think I just might be in love.