Last night's Miss America pageant had two firsts. Nina Davuluri became the first Indian American two win the title--and the second Miss New York in a row to win. But also sharing the limelight and media attention is Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail. Not only is she a member of the Armed Forces, but also was the first to bare her tattoos on the contest's stage.
Vail is a member of the Army National Guard and states that her father--a 33 year veteran as a military dentist--as being her inspiration to join. In his honor she has the Army insignia on her shoulder. Her other tattoo is more visible and has garnered more attention. It is the words to the "serenity prayer", which she states comes from a period when she faced bullying as a child and had thoughts of suicide. Having overcome her struggles, miss Vail hopes her story can help others facing similar situations to persevere.
Her tattoos raised a few eyebrows at first, as some still associate tattoos with negative elements of society. She refused to cover her tattoos up, as she felt that would make her a hypocrite.
Vail made it into the Top 10 last night, mostly due to the America's Choice vote. However, she was not able to perform her preferred talent--she is an expert archer--do to a no projectile policy. This left her with singing; which some have stated may not have been her best choice and may have cost her the pageant.
Though she did not win, miss Vail has a lot to be proud of. She, as well as miss Davuluri, has shown the evolution what what the 21st century American woman is.