Is the first Miss America contestant to proudly show off her tattoos breaking ground?
by Lisa Fogarty
Miss Kansas Theresa Vail is tall, blonde, tan, and somehow both magically athletic and busty. In other words, she's a lot like every other Miss America contestant who isn't brunette, tall, tan, and busty -- except for one feature that is rewarding her headlines: she has a huge tattoo of the Serenity Prayer that spans from her right ribs to hip.
While some other contestants sport small, inconspicuous tats on their feet or on other less noticeable body parts, 22-year-old Vail is making a point of flaunting hers in order to help break down barriers.
Although she couldn't possibly mean the barriers that stand between girls getting tattoos and not getting them, right? Because even my 93-year-old grandmother no longer flinches at the sight of ink on a woman's body.
Vail's platform in the competition is actually called "Empowering Women; Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers," which is awesome, if you only focused on her accomplishments -- of which there are many. For one thing, the senior at Kansas State University had the courage to join the Kansas National Guard at 17, double majored in Chinese and chemistry at school, and wants to become a prosthetic dentist for the Army.
She honestly sounds amazing.
Even the story behind her tattoo is great. While some of us are living with pictures of Betty Boop forever etched on our ankles, Vail chose her Serenity Prayer tat because it helped her get through her teenage years, when she said she was bullied.
Some may argue that it's about time the Miss America pageant welcomed a woman who is unconventionally beautiful. I would agree. But in this day and age, does featuring a conventionally beautiful blonde, who just happens to sport a tattoo on her perfect body, qualify as groundbreaking? Is this helping women overcome stereotypes?
At the end of the day, Vail seems like another intelligent, interesting young woman with a tattoo who just happens to be vying for a crown in the most conventional pageant in America.
Do you think Vail is breaking ground as the first Miss America contestant to proudly show off her tattoos?