While 2013 Miss Kansas Theresa Vail did not win last month’s Miss America pageant, the argument can certainly be made that no candidate was more talked about across the nation.
In the aftermath, which has included articles and interviews by the hundreds, Vail is using her controversial appearance on the national stage to set a new standard for pageantry.
Vail appeared on KMAN’s Morning News this week to talk about her success in the event, in which she finished in the top 15, and the ways her life has been changed since.
“I have changed the way people view pageants,” she said. “I have changed the history of the pageant world. It’s a revolution.”
Vail raised the eyebrows of men and women alike when she was selected to represent the state of Kansas. She sports a visible tattoo on her right side, which is almost unheard of in the pageant world and a first in the Miss America competition.
To some, it was an instant black mark – literally and figuratively – to her chances of winning. To Vail, it was an element of her personality she wouldn’t dare hide.
“I had no idea it would cause this much national attention,” she said. “I didn’t think they were taboo anymore.
“What people don’t realize is that I didn’t get a tattoo just to get one. I got it to remind myself of my past.”
The tattoo wasn’t Vail’s only controversial trait. She is also very public about her passion for hunting and the outdoors. America didn’t expect that from a Miss America candidate.
Despite the negative reaction that’s entered her life, Vail is getting many positive benefits from her polarizing stances as well.
The attention earned her the title of “People’s Choice,” which went to the candidate with the most views on a three-minute video each posted campaigning for the title.
Additionally, the number of requests she’s had to speak at schools has skyrocketed.
“When the tattoo thing happened is when I was able to open up my story about bullying,” she said. “As a result, I’ve been able to speak at schools and talk to kids about the dangers of bullying. Because of that, I’m very pleased with how the Miss America experience played out for me.”
Vail plans to spend much more time making such appearances in coming months. She’s proud of what she accomplished and plans to face the negatives head-on.