World peace? Miss Kansas breaks stereotypes in a pair of combat boots

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Some people may wonder -- why didn't Miss Utah just say something about world peace? It's the stereotypical answer everyone associates with pageants, after all.

The newly-crowned Miss Kansas 2013, who'll be competing in Miss America in September, is all about breaking stereotypes to set the record straight on so-called pageant girls.

She looks the part of a pageant queen, and she even sounds like one in her operatic performance. While Miss Kansas, 22-year-old Theresa Vail, wears the shoes of a pageant queen, she's really more comfortable in a pair of combat boots.

"I've always wanted to be in the military, and I had the privilege of doing that when I was 17," Theresa explained.

Theresa's in the Kansas Army National Guard where she's currently serving as a dental technician.

"Nobody expects a soldier to be a beauty queen," she said.

It was fellow soldiers who encouraged Theresa to go for the crown.

"I'm all about breaking stereotypes, and that's why I thought pageant systems would be the way to go," Theresa said.

She continues to break stereotypes in the pageant world. She's an archer, working on a bow-hunting show for the Outdoor Channel.

"We have two hunts as of right now. We need 13 to air a season, so we're just waiting until September for deer season," she explained.

Theresa's a great shot, a qualified expert marksman with an M-16 and she's an adrenaline seeker. She used to even race motorcycles. On top of that, Theresa's nearly fluent in Chinese.

She's using her diverse background as a way to inspire other young women that they too can be a pageant queen or anything else they'd like to be.

"Right now, everyone thinks of Miss America as this girl on a pedestal, and I want her to come down from that. She is just a normal girl," Theresa said.

A normal girl with a high-profile job and a crown that matches everything, even camo.
Theresa attends Kansas State University. She plans to go to dental school and become an Army dentist.

For more information about the Miss America Organization, click here.

For more information about Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, click here.

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