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Miss America Contestant Bares Tattoos in Bathing Suit Competition

Miss America Contestant Bares Tattoos in Bathing Suit Competition

Reuters

Sgt. Theresa Vail showed off more than just skin when she competed in the swimsuit portion of this year's Miss America pageant.

This 22-year-old contestant from Kansas didn't hide her two large tattoos — not that she wanted to. "My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers," Vail told People magazine. "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."

READ: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Tattoos

Vail, who is currently enlisted in the Kansas Army National Guard and hopes to be an army dentist one day, sports a tattoo of the Serenity Prayer running down her side and an insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her opposite shoulder.

"Nobody expects a soldier to be a beauty queen," she told People, "but I'm all about breaking stereotypes."

Vail's hobbies include hunting, archery and cooking up a pot of squirrel stew (for real), but those won't do for the talent portion. Instead, viewers should expect something a bit tamer. Nine months ago, after learning that she wasn't allowed to bring projectiles on stage for her very first pageant (she planned to demonstrate her knack for archery), Vail belted out the Puccini aria "Nessun Dorma" from the opera "Turandot" and won the coveted silver tray.

And judging by her Twitter photos, Miss Kansas is already taking Atlantic City by storm after arriving for the preliminaries before the final night of competition on Sunday, September 15. Take a look below.

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