News

Tattoos, shoes among Miss America accessories

Tattoos, shoes among Miss America accessories

Miss America after arriving in Atlantic City, N.J. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. The pageant held a welcoming ceremony for the 53 contestants, one from each state plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/Mel Evans

Miss America 2014 contestant, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail, competes in a preliminary round during the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City
Miss America 2014 contestant, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail. Photo: Reuters

By Victoria Cavaliere

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Kansas woman hoping to be crowned the next Miss America on Sunday night keeps her personal mission statement close to her heart: it’s tattooed on her torso.

Miss Kansas Theresa Vail became the first Miss America contestant to visibly show her tattoos during competitions this week, pageant officials said. Her two pieces of ink are expected to be on display during Sunday’s nationally televised pageant.

Tattoos aren’t the only thing that sets Vail, 22, apart from her beauty queen competitors. She’s also a member of the Kansas National Guard, making her the second contestant in the history of the Miss America Pageant to be an active member of the military.

PHOTOS: Miss America’s Shoes

Sergeant Vail, who lists her hobbies as hunting, archery and cooking, addressed her tattoos on her personal blog. She said her decision to not cover them during the contest was an attempt to challenge traditional definitions of beauty and femininity.

“I do not want to shock the nation when I’m seen in a swimsuit, bearing my marks,” she wrote. “I am opting to show them proudly.”

Her goal, she said is “empowering women to OVERCOME stereotypes and break barriers.”

Vail’s two tattoos include her “personal mission statement,” the Serenity Prayer, down the right side of her torso. It reads “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

Her other tattoo is the insignia of the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder. Vail says she hopes to go on to dental school in the future.

Another Miss America contestant making headlines is Miss Iowa, Nicole Kelly. Kelly was born without part of her left forearm and says she has never let her disability get in the way of doing what she wanted.

The 2014 Miss America will be crowned Sunday night.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

NFL: Legal process will play role in punishments

nfl

Punishment for players implicated in domestic violence will not be imposed upon arrest but at some point "farther down the process."

in National

Ebola czar starts work, drugmakers launch vaccine drive

ebola

The Obama administration is ramping up its response to the potential spread of the virus.

in National, World

Canadian parliament attacked, soldier fatally shot

canadashooting

A gunman shot a soldier and then entered the country's parliament buildings, with at least 30 shots fired in dramatic scenes in the heart of the Canadian capital.

in National

U.S. farmers battling bugs

harvest

With record harvests depressing prices, farmers are using chemicals that protect stored grain from critters.

in National, World

Jeffrey Fowle, freed from N. Korea, back on American soil

fowle

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the release of one of three Americans held in North Korea.