California Beauty Queen Told To Cover Up Tattoos, Instead Gives Up Crown

Asked to cover her tattoos, beauty queen steps down
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A beauty queen in the Southern California desert community of Phelan gave up her crown rather than cover up her ink.

Crowned Miss Phelan at age 17, Sierra Leyde did not have tattoos. After celebrating her 18th birthday, like many young adults, the beauty queen treated herself to a tattoo, then another, according to CBS2.

Leaving a trail of artistic flowers on her upper arm and shoulder as well as a shark on her forearm, Leyde said she did not think about the title when deciding to get her tattoos.

“I did it mostly for myself, all my tattoos have very special meanings to me.”

The new ink did not sit well with the Phelan Chamber of Commerce who asked her to sign a Miss Phelan contract saying she would keep the tattoos covered while in sash and crown.

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The contract stated that body piercings (nose, excessive ears, belly button, etc.) should not be seen or worn during Miss Phelan appearances and tattoos needed to be covered while wearing the official sash and crown, according to the news site.

Ledye said she thought about discussing her half sleeve of flower tattoos with the Phelan Chamber of Commerce, instead she chose to release her title and step down.

“I don’t feel like I should have to cover my tattoos because they are so normal now.”

The chamber says it has no issues with a Miss Phelan having tattoos, they only ask that they be covered during official events. Although her mother says she does not love her tattoos, but the ink does not change who her daughter is, according to the station.

“When she was three, she was crowned Tiny Miss Phelan, so it was kind of her coming full circle,” said Lisa Leyde, the former beauty queen’s mother. “The fact that they were telling me my daughter wasn’t wholesome, a wholesome representative of the community because she had a tattoo, and that didn’t change anything from before she had the tattoo. What made her less wholesome because she has a tattoo now.”

After giving up her crown, Leyde shared a news story of her dethronement on Twitter with the caption “rt if you have at least one tattoo and disagree with the statement that tattoos are unwholesome.” Her tweet gained support from many ‘inked’ users.

Both mother and daughter said the contract and rules go against what the pageant is meant to represent for girls, warning new contestants of the the pageants “overly conservative” beliefs.

“For them to base the pageant around diversity in our community and then kind of squash diversity made no sense to me,” said her mother. “It just felt like it was really unfair.”