Miss America contestant’s tattoos, military career choice analyzed by staff writer

Makayla Nicholis, Staff Writer

A platinum-blond, pink-clad woman with a swimsuit-ready body walks across the stage. Tears stream down her face as she accepts the crown and sash that mark her as the newly appointed Miss America.
Typically, this is exactly what you would expect from the annual Miss America contest. However, this year’s contestants had one surprise in store.
That surprise happened to be none other than our very own Miss Kansas, better known as Theresa Vail. Unlike the spotless skin that most of the ladies in the competition maintain, Miss Kansas had the gall to sport not just one, but two tattoos during the swimsuit portion of the competition.
One tattoo that Vail showed off was the Serenity Prayer, inked across the expanse of her right torso. The other is the symbol of the US Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder.
The reason for these tattoos?
Vail is employed in the Kansas Army National Guard Medical Detachment. She joined the forces when she was 17 years old and later submitted herself into the Miss America pageant with the idea of increasing support of empowering women and overcoming feminist stereotypes.
Tattoos and the armed forces aren’t the only thing that set Vail apart from the common Miss America contestant. Unlike the classic parade of singing and dancing, Vail planned on showing off her skills with a bow and arrow during the talent portion of the competition. However, she was not allowed to do anything that involved “flying objects”, according to the rules.
Though Vail did not make it to the top five, she got all the way to the top ten in the competition. Could it be that the standards for beauty are changing in society? Sure, Vail still has the typical “perfect form” and pretty face, complete with long, blond hair.
But none of the other contestants have ever had tattoos, nor were they part of the armed forces. It’s possible that the dream for a soft, petite girl with lady-like grace is slowly shifting into one for a woman who can hold her own against pain and the strain of endurance.