Theresa Vail, Miss America Contestant Bares Tattoos For The First Time

As conventional as the Miss America pageant may seem — and almost quaint in an era of debauched ex-Disney starlets twerking their way to the top of the news cycle — the longstanding beauty contest is no stranger to ever-so-gently pushing the envelope. It began in the 1920s as a national ritual enshrining good looks with patriotism and good ol' conservative values. But, since then the pageant has tried to keep up with the zeitgeist, if always slightly behind the curve. In 1974, Miss America winner Rebecca Ann King publicly declared her support to legalize abortion. In 1984, Vanessa Williams became the first woman of color to win the title (only to relinquish it shortly later when Penthouse published nude photos of her and a scandal ensued). And, tonight in Atlantic City, Miss Kansas, Sgt. Theresa Vail, will walk down the catwalk and pull a Miss America first: She'll expose her tattoos.
Don't expect a full sleeve of flaming skulls on the sergeant, though. Vail is only inked with the insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder and the Serenity Prayer running down her right side. Still, Vail stands apart from her competition as both a servicewoman and a member of the tattooed ranks, too. "Nobody expects a soldier to be a beauty queen," Vail told People, "but I'm all about breaking stereotypes." Well.
The question, however, is whether those stereotypes are in need of breaking. (Miss America's standards of beauty have not exactly kept up with the rest of the country, have they?) If anything, it's everything but Vail's tattoos that make her more compelling: She can skin a deer, she's a crack shot with an M16, she's fluent in Chinese, and she can master an aria in less than 48 hours.
But Vail's decision to bare her tattooed skin is perhaps more boundary-breaking for the staid Miss America pageant than any of her fearsome skills, and it still comes from a good place. "How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can't do the same?" she asked. "I am who I am, tattoos and all." (People)
vailnewPhoto: Via People.

More from News

One of Laguna Beach's original cast members gave birth to a baby girl in Newport Beach, CA, on Saturday. Morgan Smith, who starred on the first and second ...
No, She didn't sing, "The Stars Are Blind
Update: The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office charged the two male protesters that stormed the stage during Ryan Lochte's performance during Dancing With ...
You could spend all day critiquing the media for the lack of compelling content created by and starring women. But why not put the kind of female-centric...
Chrissy Teigen confirms that her life is just too too cute
The actor will not be attending a screening of the film Voyage of Time this evening. Though he narrates the documentary film, Pitt says he will not be ...
Two weeks ago, Nick Gordon was found responsible for the 2015 death of one-time girlfriend Bobbi Kristina Brown in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her ...
Just when we thought we couldn't handle any more Hollywood romances ending, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber broke up. "Over the past few months we've ...
Viola Davis wants people to rethink what it means to be a survivor of sexual assault. In a speech benefitting the Rape Foundation, the How to Get Away ...
We've been waiting for this news ever since President Obama announced that the White House would host South by South Lawn. The official lineup is here, ...
Dusty Rose Levine 9/21/16 A photo posted by Adam Levine (@adamlevine) on Sep 23, 2016 at 9:40pm PDT Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo Levine have ...
Update: Marion Cotillard's longtime partner, Guillaume Canet, has also weighed in on the Pitt-Jolie divorce rumors. In a post on Instagram, he wrote a long...
Fact: When a woman turns 30, she can do whatever the fuck she wants. To be sure, a woman can do just about anything just about anytime she wants. The ...
Last month, Star Wars star Daisy Ridley abruptly quit Instagram. The internet assumed that online bullying spurred her departure, because, well, the ...