Theresa Vail is just your typical girl from Kansas, you know — if your definition of "typical" includes being a boxer, mechanic, fluent in Chinese, bow-hunting U.S. Army sergeant in the running to become Miss America “typical.”
OK, we get it — Vail is as impressive as she is beautiful and it’s pretty obvious that the women competing against the blonde beauty in the 92nd Annual Pageant for Miss America are definitely strutting against a heavyweight champion. However, there is something Vail has that the other 49 ladies do not — and in this case it’s not exactly considered crown material.
In the competition’s preliminaries beginning in Atlantic City, N.J. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, Vail will unveil her taboo tattoos on stage as she attempts to win the title of Miss America. "Why am I choosing to bare my tattoos?" Vail said. "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."
See, tattoos have not exactly been welcomed with open arms in the good values, good looks competition. But why not? Plenty of empowering women have rocked ink, like Helen Mirren, Cher and Angelina Jolie! So why is it frowned upon in the Miss America competition?
Well, Vail is tackling that question – and in the highest of heels. “Now, many still believe that Miss America is apple pie and pearls,” she wrote. “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.”
Vail went on to express that she thinks society needs to steer away from the idea of Miss America being a “pageant Barbie.” “What I love about Miss Kansas is she’s showing people [that] no, it’s about competing at your personal best, not about trying to conform to a certain image.”
We can’t wait to see Vail confidently walk across the Miss America stage — tattoos and all!