The Miss America pageant is undergoing some major changes. On Tuesday, the contest announced that it will become more inclusive to women of all sizes and get rid of the swimsuit competition. Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, also announced that Miss America is set to become a competition, not a pageant.
Even more changes coming
The swimsuit competition is going to be replaced by contestants taking part in a live interactive session with judges. According to officials at the competition the sessions will be, “where she will highlight her achievements and goals in life and how she will use her talents, passion, and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.”
There are other events that are also getting overhauled. The evening gown competition is being changed as well. Carlson announced that contestants will be allowed to wear “whatever they choose.” Discussions on how each contestant would advance their social-impact will also be part of the competition.
The 97-year-old event will still have the talent portion of the competition.
#MeToo is the driving force
Carlson admitted that the #MeToo movement is a driving force behind many of the changes.
“We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up,” Carlson said. “Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”
Changes to the pageant have been coming for a while. For the first time in history, the entire organization is being led entirely by women. Just last month Regina Hopper was made president and CEO, and Marjorie Vincent-Tripp became the chair of the Board of Trustees. Back in December Carlson was named chairwoman.
Former leaders of the Miss America Organization were forced to resign in December after it was revealed that leaders and employees exchanged disparaging emails about pageant contestants. The emails referenced their weight and sex lives.
The three new leaders are all former pageant winners in the Miss America system. Vincent-Tripp and Carlson were both Miss America winners. Hopper was Miss Arkansas in 1983.
On September 9th, the next Miss America competition will be held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.