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Sgt. Theresa Vail Redefines Beauty for Miss America and Girls Nationwide

(Photo courtesy of Carlo Allegri/Reuters/Landov)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Miss Kansas, Sgt. Theresa Vail, will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on the Miss America Pageant this year. From body art to boyish hobbies, she is breaking multiple glamour girl stereotypes and empowering women across the country to be beautiful by simply being themselves.

The 22-year-old senior at Kansas State University joined the Kansas City National Guard soon after she turned 17, and she plans on returning for an additional six years after completing her Chinese and chemistry double major. Vail may be the second contestant in the military to compete for the crown, but she was the first woman to reveal two taboo tattoos—the insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her left shoulder and the Serenity Prayer on her ride side— during the swimsuit competition of the Miss America preliminaries on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

During a People interview, Vail said, "My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink. How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can't do the same? I am who I am, tattoos and all."

Bold ink aside, this hardcore heroine is also an expert M16 marksman, bow hunter, sky diver and mechanic. While her opera singing talent helped win her the Miss Kansas title, she originally had her heart set on archery before she found out “projectile objects” were prohibited in the talent portion of the competition.

This soldier may make for an unconventional beauty queen, but she definitely proves just how stunning a strong woman can be. And for that, we wish her the best of luck this Sunday.

Now You Tell Us: What are your thoughts on Vail competing for the Miss America title (and her body art!)?