Miss America Gets an Unexpected PR boost

Controversy creates cool public relations

The 2014 Miss America Competition - Show
The Miss America pageant is known for showcasing the best and the most beautiful girls from each of the 50 states. The pageant is renowned for its squeaky-clean, pure as the driven snow, sweet as cotton candy young women. The kind every guy would love to have on his arm and hope to bring home to mother.

But this year, that image is getting a millennial overhaul. And it may be the best PR the pageant has received in decades.

The contestant from Kansas, on paper, looks like every other overachieving pageant entrant. College co-ed. Check. Professional career goals. Check. Sings opera. Check. Volunteer activities…military service. Check and check!
Theresa-Vail PR is great
But when she shed her clothes and donned a bikini, Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, revealed something no other contestants have ever dared. Tattoos.

Not one, but two. The most visible is the Serenity Prayer, etched in thick lines of script along her rib cage. While, so far, pageant officials have been mum about this display, the carefully cultivated pageant world has been buzzing.

What is most clear is that, though many contestants before Vail have been inked, none have chosen to show their tats.

Ronn Torossian said this story will likely be the most press the Miss America pageant has received in years. “The Internet is an emerging visual medium, and stories like this are tailor made for the web. Particularly in the age of mobile devices and quick click page views.”

Tattoos Are In

Torossian admits the fact that Vail is not only tattooed but also gorgeous certainly play into the appeal. “Sure, but the Miss America pageant has been trading on beautiful and poised young women since its inception. It’s the tattoos that are breaking the mold. Miss Vail is inked, but she’s not a bad girl. She’s as All American as any other contestant.”

Torossian said this may signal a sea change in the perception of both tattooed women and pageant contestants.

“Tattoos don’t mean you’re a ‘bad girl’ anymore, and pageant girls have always been ‘real’ girls underneath all the illusions.”

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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