Miss America: Forging Past Old Stereotypes

Meet Miss Kansas, a tattoo-clad, gun-toting hunter and Army National Guard member.
5:58 | 09/14/13

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Transcript for Miss America: Forging Past Old Stereotypes
So for the purposes of research, I looked up the list of miss america talents throughout the years. And found everything from ventriloquism to hula dancing, lovely women show off dressmaking, trampoline, harp skills over the years. Curiously no contestant has ever shot a deer on stage with a bow and arrow. To be fair they don't allow that. But if they did miss kansas could. Or she could fire a machine gun while describing tattoos in chine chinese. Theresa veil. And amy robach introduces us to the woman changing the way we think about the modern pageant. Reporter: Each year, thousand of young women vie to become the next miss america, a contest that some say is trapped in time. But this year, the competition may be between traditional and cutting edge. Here we go. Good job. Reporter: The pink or the ink. Pretty much all the way up. And all the way down. ♪ I am the one ♪ Reporter: Miranda jones is who you might picture when you think of a beauty contestant. A world champion baton twirler and veteran of many page enlts. Pageants. Theresa veil is something different. A grittier, perhaps more modern competitor. It is lethal. It's deadly. I tell people not to mess with me. Reporter: Meet the reigning, miss kansas, known as sergeant veil. I break stereotypes every day, being a soldier and a beauty queen. Reporter: Veil, a first of sorts. Member of the kansas army national guard, and a double major in chinese and chemistry. Thank you. Thank you, you look beautiful. My platform is empowering will tune overcome stereotypes and break barriers. The first contestant to sport her tattoos. Right now the stigma is girls who compete in pageants don't have tattoos. If they do they cover them or else they don't win. And I want to break that. I want to say, you know, this is -- this is 2013. Women have tattoos. They can win. What are your tattoos of? Serenity prayer. Reporter: The second member of the u.S. Military to ever compete in the miss america pageant. A very different type of duty she hasn't quite gotten used to. Which one is harder? Right now, I will say this one. Having to be girlie. Put on makeup. And fake eyelashes for on stage. A whole new arena. Whole new ballpark. One of her biggest competitors sunday night will be a classic of sorts. Your new miss florida. Reporter: And a pageant pro. I have focused and prepared for this moment my entire life. I'm miss florida. I want you smiling from here. Reporter: For the last five weeks, miranda has been working with mary sullivan, executive director of miss florida. Who each year gets her state representative ready for the national stage. That's not a vision of what i want. It's a vision of whether or not I can do this. When you are crowned you mean? Ah. Reporter: One of her priorities this year is working on miranda's voice. The purpose of it is to be speaking and pushing from your diaphragm rather than pushing from your throat. How are you doing today? I always eat lunch at noon. I always eat lunch at 7:00. How are you doing tonight? I am miss florida, and you are not. That's my favorite one. Every aspect is carefully monitored. From moving in with her coach. How many times a day are you supposed to eat? Following a 24 hour/7 day a week diet regimen. What I could eat. I could have fruit up until yesterday. Now I can't. Carrots, broccoli. There is one thing they couldn't prepare for. I love the eyes. Yes. Yes. Are they her eyes? Yes, those are her eyes. Reporter: Real life. At her baton twirling rehearsal, miranda fell and tore her acl. Medics, please. Come pe Reporter: Competitive as ever. She was back and won. You will get to the performance on "20/20" sunday. Miss kansas had a set back preparing. A master archer, she planned on demonstrating her bow and arrow skills, but at the last minute she was told, projectile object were forbidden. So she learned opera. I watched youtube videos to learn how to sing. Reporter: Wow, again, unexpected. Yeah, show tattoos. Then come outen a gun and sing opera. From a girl who wears camo. Yes. I wanted to show the judgize can bep a poised, graceful, elegant woman, but I have this bic dichotomy. Reporter: Will she carry a crown? There are 53 women in this competition t in a way it is the contest between the old and the new. And who wins miss america this sunday may well show us where america stands. For "nightline," I'm amy robach in atlantic city. A special edition of "20/20" pageant con fi dfidential and then the big show, pageant after it. Thank you, amy.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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