During Sunday’s show, the 23-year-old Miss Kansas will show off two tattoos during the swimsuit competition portion of the event: the insignia for the U.S. Army Dental Corps on her shoulder and the Serenity Prayer on her side.
Vail tells People magazine that she’s decided the move will actually help women.
“Why am I choosing to bear my tattoos?” Vail tells People. “My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. 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.”
She’s also a big unique in some other respects, too.
She’s also an expert M16 marksman, a bow hunter, a skydiver, a boxer and a mechanic. She finally had to stop motorcycle racing after breaking all the fingers in her right hand – a potential stumbling block, she decided, to reaching her goal of becoming an Army dentist. She can skin a deer, she has a great squirrel stew recipe (it features sauerkraut) and, one day, she hopes to hunt bear with her bow and arrow.
Nine months ago, when she entered her very first beauty pageant (her commanding officer thought she’d be a great role model), she planned to demonstrate archery for her talent. Two days before the competition, she was told “projectile objects” were forbidden, so she had no choice but to either drop out or hustle up a new talent.
On Sunday, watch for her singing talent.
And see more photos of her from People magazine here.