Miss Kansas Helps Break Miss America Stereotypes

Act 3: Theresa Vail is a tattooed army sergeant who isn't afraid to show off her ink.
4:32 | 09/15/13

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Transcript for Miss Kansas Helps Break Miss America Stereotypes
We're back with pageant confidential. The road to miss america. Here's laura spenlara spencer. They say competition is like a battlefield. And for one of this year's contestants, that's not far from the truth. Meet miss kansas, or should i say, sergeant miss kansas. No air conditioning in that thing. Theresa vail is a beauty queen and she's in the army, too. This first time pageant contestant is determined to make her mark. It's lethal. Bulls eye. Five dots, aim for the center. Deadly. So, I tell people not to miss wi mess with me. You missed. I did not miss. Hold right here. My platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. I'm going to help you on this one, all right? I didn't necessarily choose it, because it's my life. No doubt she is living proof of her message. I break stereotypes every day, being a soldier and a beauty queen. You might call her a rebel, of sorts. Unafraid to test the limits of pageant tradition, she plans to let the world see what is usually hidden. Pretty much all the way up and all the way down. I think the world is ready for a miss america with ink. She is skipping the camo-makeup and bearing those very visible tattoos on stage. The stigma is that girls who compete in pageants don't have tattoos. And if they do, they cover them or else they don't win. And I want to break that. This is 2013. Women have tattoos. And they can win. In fact, they do win. Miss america herself admits she, too, has a tattoo. There's no rule that sails you can or cannot have tattoos. I have a tattoo on the back of my neck. But I covered mine for the pageant. Other women are blazing frontiers, as well. The official miss america sash. Nicole kelly made headlines when she won miss iowa in june. I'll have to be walking and do that, like, pageant wave. I joke that I've trained for this my whole entire life without realizing it, because I've been on stage my whole life. She'll be the first to compete with a very visible disability. I guess I've just been taught that it's okay to be yourself. ♪ Say what you want to say ♪ nicole plans to sing a fitting song for her talent. ♪ I want to see you be brave ♪ back in kansas, a last minute change for theresa. She's just found out she's not allowed to perform archery as her talent. Oh, gosh. So, she'll teach herself to sing, of all things, opera. ♪ I chose the song for two reasons. One, because it is originally sung by a man. ♪ and with my platform of breaking stereotypes, I wanted to say, well, women can do it, too. ♪ I still want you to release as much as you can after the "no, no." ♪ I know I'm up against girls that have been singing for much longer than I have and that are, you know, classically trained. And those other contestants are raring and ready to go. They are packing up and heading to new jersey. It's game time. The miss states arrive in atlantic city where they'll be sequestered for the next week and a half. Oh, my gosh. Just go right around this corner. Awesome. It has been a total, like, roller coaster, like, super anxious. They are all smiles and feeling, well, we'll let them tell you. I'm so excited. Just really excited to be here. Really excited. I'm excited. Rehearsing starts right away. Little groove, little groove. One, two, three, walk it back. Some take to it. Some, not so much. I don't dance. She's in the army. It's just a struggle.

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