ONTARIO (CBSLA) — A lifelong beauty show contestant in the high desert has found herself one crown short after her biggest title was rescinded, all over a tattoo.
Former Miss Phelan Sierra Leyde said she was looking forward to volunteering after she won the title last year at age 17.
"Mostly we did ribbon cuttings, and then we did an Easter thing up at Serrano High School, but that was about it," Leyde told CBS2 News.
She wasn't thinking about the title when she decided to get a tattoo for her 18th birthday.
"I did it mostly for myself," Leyde said. She has a tattoo of some flowers on her upper arm and shoulder and a shark on her forearm.
She soon learned they did not sit well with the Phelan Chamber of Commerce. The agency asked Leyde to sign a Miss Phelan contract, which read, in part,
"Body piercings (nose, excessive ears, belly button, etc.) shall not be seen or worn during appearances. Tattoos shall also remain concealed at all times in sash and crown."
She is shown in the Miss Phelan photo below, sans tattoos.
Leyde said she thought about discussing the flower tattoo with the agency but decided to forgo the title.
"I don't feel like I should have to cover my tattoos because they are so normal now," said Leyde.
Her mother doesn't love her tattoos, but she said they don't change who her daughter is.
"When she was three, she was crowned Tiny Miss Phelan, so it was kind of her coming full circle," said Lisa Leyde. "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."
The Chamber of Commerce told CBS2 they "have no issues with their Miss Phelan representatives having tattoos, other than asking them they must be covered during official chamber events."
Mother and daughter said this seems to go against what the pageant is meant to represent.
"For them to base the pageant around diversity in our community and then kind of squash diversity made no sense to me," said Lisa. "It just felt like it was really unfair."
The chamber is now looking for it's 2018 Miss Phelan, and the Leydes said young ladies who decide to enter should be made aware of their "overly conservative" views.
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