Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, has gained national attention as the first contestant to show her "ink" on the stage.
"Why am I choosing to bear my tattoos?" Vail writes in her Miss Kansas blog. "Reference A; my platform! Empowering women to OVERCOME stereotypes and break barriers. What a hypocrite I would be if I covered the ink. With my platform, how could I tell other women to be fearless and be true to themselves if I can’t do the same? Now, had my platform been something entirely different, maybe the tables would be turned. Maybe. But I am who I am, tattoos and all."
The 22-year-old isn't your typical beauty queen, with her love for bow hunting and her job as a National Guard Sergeant.
"Even if she doesn't win I think she's already stirred the pot by coming out and saying, 'This is who I am and this is what I'm going to do,'" said Beth Nolte.
"She's obviously intelligent and it makes me feel good that she's a Kansas girl," said Marce Brown.
But Miss Kansas isn't the only one standing out for being different. She's blond, beautiful and was born with a birth defect, but Miss Iowa never let her condition stop her from achieving her dream. The 23-year-old was born without her left forearm.
"I know what it's like to live a life that is blatently different," said Nicole Kelly in her Miss America video. "I know what it's like to have people assume that there are many things I can not do... and I've really lived my life in a way that is trying to disprove all of those things."
Her platform is "The Power of One" empowering people to share their stories of feeling different and yet not being alone.
"You shouldn't judge people by their abilities or deformities, everybody should be accepted," said Brown.
"I think it's so cool that some people are finally saying 'You don't have to be perfect to be beautiful," said Beth Nolte.
Then there's Miss Arizona. At 10-years-old she found out she had Tourette Syndrome, a disorder that causes sudden movements and noises called ticks.
"This girl felt alone, she felt embarrassed, she felt like she was the only girl in the World with Tourettes because she had no one to relate to," she said in her video for Miss America. "I decided I wasn't going to let myself be defined by diagnosis... I never understood it then, but now I realize God gave me Tourettes for a reason. And that reason is to stand up here today and share my story to inspire others and give hope that anything is possible because I am a living, breathing example of never giving up."
Now she uses her story to educate others about the condition.
"It's a great example to be setting for the young girls who watch this pageant, and want to be just like these people," said Nolte.
Each of the 53 contestant vying for the title Miss America have a story to share and a platform to stand on. They'll take the stage Sunday night on ABC.