Tattoos on display at new Texas pageant

Monday, September 15, 2014
Pageant Ink to be held in Texas
A new Texas pageant will be judging contestants on ink creativity

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Miss America was just crowned where women were judged on their talent, intelligence, eloquence, and appearance. A new Texas pageant will be judging contestants on something totally different - ink creativity.

Last year, Miss Kansas Theresa Vail rocked headlines as she broke the girl next door stereotype by bearing tattoos with her bikini at the Miss America pageant.

Two local women are preparing for their own pageant, one where body art is the focus of the beauty competition.

Combined, Brittany Binder and Sarah Powell have spent over 100 hours getting inked.

(Some photos above provided by 'Pretty and Inked')

"As I get tattooed, it helps me realize who I am," Binder said. "Most of them mean a lot to me and are for certain people in my life."

Powell says that her tattoos even improved her health.

"I used to be really overweight, and I started getting tattoos, and it made me feel more comfortable in my skin and appreciate who I was and want to strive to be more healthy and have a healthier lifestyle," Powell said.

Both women have successful careers but their jobs give mixed reviews on their ink work. Powell works as a theater prop master and can flaunt her tattoos on the job.

"Nobody cares what your skin looks like. They care about what work you're producing," Powell said.

On the other hand, Binder covers up when she heads to her job at a medical office.

"I have to wear long sleeves or a sweater so I look respectable in the office. As a working professional, if I have to cover up, I will, but it would make my life much easier if people would understand it's just expressing ourselves and telling our life story," Binder said.

Out of 300 applicants, Binder and Powell are just two of the 12 finalists who get the chance to compete and show off their body art in the first-ever Miss Texas Inked. One woman will be crowned the winner Sept. 27 in Fort Worth.

While both are excited about the experience, they wish tattoos were more accepted in mainstream pageants.

"I don't see why, honestly, we have to have a separate pageant just for tattooed women. I think that we should be able to compete altogether because we are just as smart and intelligent and professional as some without, if not, even more sometimes," Binder said.

Their tattoo artists agree.

"I don't think there should be any discrimination whatsoever based on the color of your skin," said Twisted Ink tattoo artist Dallas.

"I think the statistic is eight out of 10 people have at least something small, so it's definitely growing, and it's just going to keep growing," said tattoo artist and owner of Advent Studio Mike Woods. "With that you're going to see the stereotypes that are in place or the limitations, such as the Miss America pageant, all of that's going to fade away in the next 20 years."