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Can Pageant Girls Have Tattoos

12, September 2013

Since Miss Kansas 2013 has come onto the scene, the question isn't so much "can" pageant girls have tattoos, as much as "should" they have tattoos. Just as pop culture and politics are evolving, so is pageantry. While the ideal goals and standards for a titleholder have not changed, the image sure has.

Miss Kansas 2013 Theresa Vail. Photo: Miss America Organization

Over the past decade we’ve seen pageantry take baby steps away from always being conservative to being more flashy, contemporary, and trendy. In some aspects being a titleholder is similar to being an A-list celebrity. The media as well other individuals are watching your every move to see if you are indeed worthy of the crown. No big deal right (pressure is on)? But let’s get down to the matter at hand… does having a body piercing or tattoo deem one unworthy to be a titleholder or a role model to others?

This is a question that sparks quite a bit of debate within the pageant world. I know this because I posed the question on our FaceBook fan page and the question got CRAZY responses.

Tattoos in Pageants

To be completely candid I see both sides of the argument… On one hand tattoos fall under Freedom of Expression. Body art serves as another medium in which people can express their emotions, creativity, and personal convictions. While some of these decisions are made impulsively, they represent or symbolize an important milestone or time in one’s life. As individuals, I believe it's important that we have the artistic freedom to make those type decisions. And ultimately it does not matter what someone thinks of it, as along as it has meaning and purpose to you that is all that matters.

BUT… (and there is always a but) on the other hand, while you are a titleholder you are a spokesmodel for another company and as ANY employee does you have to take into account your employers image. As a titleholder, it is your job to be a role model and a spokesperson for the pageant whom you are representing. As a spokesmodel, fair or not, you have to take into account your audience and their expectations/stereotypes. And generally speaking the stereotype of pageant girls is Cinderella not Kat Von D (who I think is beautiful by the way… and is kind of a celebrity crush of mine. Probably didn’t see that coming?)

At the end of the day, the wrong tattoo in the wrong place could potentially compromise the image of the beauty pageant you are representing, thereby hurting their numbers in the following year and what others of think of you. This hurts your chances for future crowning. 

Should a Pageant Girl Get a Tattoo?

If you are a reigning titleholder then I would talk to your board BEFORE you get new ink. Let them know what you are going to get, where you are going to get it, and how large your new tattoo will be. Like it or not. you work for them for a year and in some pageants, you might even be contractually bound not to get tattoos during your reign.

If you are not a current titleholder and you want to get a tattoo, keep in mind your future goals and ambitions when thinking about size and placement.

I personally don’t have any problems with tattoos, but that is because my brother-in-law (whom I am very close with) has two sleeves and tattoos all across his chest. Yet before Jacob came into the family, I also had negative stereotypes of people with lots of tattoos… it’s sad but I did.

Now, on women I find them kind of sexy (did I just type that?). Either way, if you do decide to get a tattoo or any other additional body art, make sure it’s a decision that you are 100% comfortable with… because there is a possibility that you may have to defend or explain exactly what it means to you while competing in a pageant or wearing the crown.

I want to continue the conversation below. What do you think? Is it okay for a pageant girl to get a tattoo?


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