Meet the First Miss America Contestant to Reveal Her Tattoos


Much to the chagrin of the not-bra burning feminists of the 1960s, the Miss America beauty pageant scholarship fund started up its week of deliberations Tuesday evening in preparation for the final crowning on Sunday. And during last night’s Lifestyle & Fitness in Swimsuit preliminary, Miss Kansas – whose real name is Theresa Vail – shocked and awed Americans by revealing not one but two tattoos on her body.

Officials say it is the first time someone has showed that they have tattoos at a Miss America pageant, though let’s be real, definitely not the first time someone has had them. Pageant contestants are probably big fans of Kat Von D.

According to Vail via the Press of Atlantic City, her “two tattoos are the Serenity Prayer and a military medical insignia from the Dental Corps.” The reason she didn’t cover them, Vail told People, is that that would have been hypocritical:

“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.”

Perhaps more notable than her tattoos is Vail’s job and her noted favorite hobbies; she’s part of the Kansas Army National Guard and is also a student at Kansas State University who is double majoring in Chinese and chemistry. She wants to be an army dentist. When she first started doing pageants, her talent was going to be archery but she found out that “projectile objects” were not allowed, so she switched singing, something she hadn’t done in years. She loves hunting.

According to the Miss Kansas website, Vail’s entire platform is about empowering women:

The ultimate goal of my platform is to build confidence in young women—through mentoring, education and exampling—so that they are able to overcome stereotypes and break down barriers. I have broken barriers and overcome stereotypes – I am a blonde, but a distinguished honor graduate. I am a soldier and an expert marksman in the Army. My favorite pastime is hunting with my dad and teaching young girls the sport of archery. Giving young women the confidence to pursue their dreams will have a positive impact on America. When women break through the stereotypes, they become doctors, political leaders, businesswomen, community activist’s – whomever they want to be.

You can read her full platform essay here:

Images via the Miss Kansas Organization

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