In many people's minds, Theresa Vail was the ideal candidate to win Miss America!
Representing Kansas, she is a sergeant in the U.S. army, she can handle a bow and arrow like Katniss Everdeen, and she's the first ever contestant to sport a couple of tattoos!
Theresa's ink was clearly visible on her ribs during the swimsuit portion, and she opened up about how tattoos in a beauty pageant is usually a big no-no:
"I have two. The Serenity Prayer down my side and the army dental insignia on my left shoulder blade. There’s a big taboo in the pageant, nobody shows their tattoos for fear of losing, but I said, 'What a hypocrite I would be if I say be all you can be, embrace your individuality, embrace your differences, break barriers, if I couldn’t even do that myself.'"
But before Theresa was Miss Kansas and competing in one of the biggest beauty pageants of the year, she said she had a difficult childhood and was bullied a lot.
She talked a little bit about those tough years and said things got so bad, she actually thought about committing suicide:
"Yes, I was about 10 years old. I’d been bullied pretty much consistently up to that point. We lived in Germany at the time and it got so bad that I nearly took my own life. Thank God it was my Dad who saved me. I remember I didn’t know the words of the Serenity Prayer at that point but I knew what I wanted to say to God, which was, help me find peace in these things that they’re making fun of me for, because I can’t change them, but on the other hand I also prayed for courage to just stand up for myself and change things that I really could. So when I was old enough I knew I never wanted to forget that story because I wanted to inspire people who may be in the same situation. That’s why I got the tattoo."
Wow! While it's sad to hear she had a difficult childhood, it's great to see she got through it!
Not only did she turn out to be a beautiful woman, but she proved that she's incredibly strong on the inside and the outside!
Talk about a great role model!
[Image via Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.]
Tags: bikini, body, bullied, inked, katniss everdeen, miss america, miss kansas, models, pageant, pageantry, sad sad, sargent, serenity prayer, suicide, tattoos, theresa vail, us army