(NEWSER– The Miss America pageant runs this weekend, and it's already drawing more attention than usual for three good reasons: Theresa Vail and her two tattoos. Vail, otherwise known as Miss Kansas, will be putting both tattoos on display in the bikini contest, proudly. One is a military insignia—she's a sergeant in her state's National Guard, making her just the second member of the military to compete—and the other is the serenity prayer, reports People. In a blog post for MissKansas.org, Vail explains why she is breaking pageant tradition:

  • "Why am I choosing to bear my tattoos?" she writes. It's all about "empowering women to OVERCOME stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered the ink. With my platform, how could I tell other women to be fearless and be true to themselves if I can’t do the same?"

My9 New Jersey

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Photos by Miss Kansas Organization