The 22 year old Kansas State University senior and Army National Guard sergeant has the serenity prayer tattooed on her side and the US Army Dental Corps symbol on her shoulder.
The tattoos took center stage during the competition, both visible in her bikini.
According to People magazine Vail is the first contestant in the pageant’s history to show ink on stage.
Vail told People the reason she chose to show off her tattoos was that she is running on a platform of empowering women to overcome stereotypes. “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?” she said.
The 2013 Miss America pageant airs Sunday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. on ABC.