22-year-old, Theresa Vail, is a senior at Kansas State University. She is representing her state at this year's Miss America pageant. What makes Vail different from all of the other contestants? She is the first to proudly display her tattoos during the pagaent. Even though she gave everyone a heads up, via her blog, that she would be making her tattoos visible during the competition, she still managed to shock the judges and the viewers.
“I am writing this post just weeks away from competing for Miss America because I do not want to shock the nation when I’m seen in a swimsuit, bearing my marks. I want to explain the meanings and reasons behind them, and why I am opting to show them proudly."
What do you think of tattooed Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, who participated in the Miss America pageant on Sept. 10? pic.twitter.com/WCJ1uJG6D9
— Wayne Dunlap (@wdunlap) September 12, 2013
Aside from her obvious beauty, Vail has many other qualities that make her unique as well. She is a sergeant in the Kansas Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment, a bow hunter and an expert marksman. Not the typical profile for a beauty queen.
"I love breaking stereotypes. I love doing what society says I shouldn't because of my gender," she told ABC News' "20/20."
"What I really want is just to inspire people by showing my tattoos," she said. "That's a bold move! And it's risky, it could very well cost me the crown. And if it does, I just want people to see that you can step outside of the box, you can be yourself. And I can only hope that it inspires them to do the same."
Vail goes on to explain the meanings of her tattoos that she proudly displays. One of them is the “Serenity Prayer.”
I was growing up amidst the bullying and neglect, I found myself asking God on a daily basis to give me peace in knowing I cannot change certain things about myself, but also asking Him to give me the strength to change things that I had the power to. Praying to Him for these characteristics got me through my adolescent years, high school and boot camp. When I was 20 years old, I knew I wanted to always be reminded of my past and its connection to this prayer. Thus, I chose to have it tattooed onto my body. I have no regrets.
The other tattoo is the military medical insignia that signifies her service in the military. “The second is the military medical insignia. Though much smaller than the prayer, the significance is just as great. Since I was a child, God placed a strong passion for service into my heart. Service to my Country, and service to people through medicine. In the middle of this symbol is the letter ‘D’ to represent my dad, whose influence was paramount in choosing this career path,” she wrote.
Did you know Miss Kansas, Army Sgt. Theresa Vail, is an expert M16 marksman? http://t.co/XZSd05nz57
— NRA Competitions (@NRACompShoot) September 12, 2013
Image via Theresa Vail's blog, MissOutDoorGirl.com