Miss America 2.0 steps into a new era, says goodbye to swimsuit round
The organization is also shunning the word 'pageant,' instead suggesting that 'Miss America' would now be a competition that looked to be inclusive of women of all sizes
The change in leadership at the highest levels at the Miss America Organization seems to be showing, with chairwoman Gretchen Carlson announcing on ABC's 'Good Morning America' that the pageant would be scrapping the swimsuit portion of its competition.
ABC reported that instead of the swimsuit portion, 'Miss America' contestants will now take part in a live interactive session with the judges.
Furthermore, she denounced the word 'pageant,' instead suggesting that 'Miss America' would now be a competition that looked to be inclusive of women of all sizes. "We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That's huge," she said on the show.
In celebration of this latest decision, the official Miss America Twitter account tweeted a short, but poignant 11-second video which begins with a still of a white bikini that disintegrates in a puff of smoke. Accompanying the video was also a new title, 'Miss America 2.0,' and the hashtag #byebyebikini.
The Miss America Organization saw a major reshuffle of its prominent positions following an exposé by the Huffington Post this past December. It was found that leaders and employees had sent derogatory emails to to participants, in which their weight and sex lives were queried upon, causing the president, CEO, and chair of the Board of Trustees to all step down.
Following the scandal, Regina Hopper was appointed the president, while Marjorie Vincent-Tripp and Carlson were made the CEO and chair respectively. This meant that, for the first time in his history, the organization would be entirely led by women, each of whom is also a former pageant winner in the Miss America system — Hopper won the Miss Arkansas pageant in 1983, Carlson won the Miss America pageant in 1989, and Vincent-Tripp won the Miss America pageant in 1991.
Widespread changes were expected to be made to what many felt was an archaic competition — Miss America originated in 1921, with 2018 its 97th iteration — it seems as though the trio will not disappoint.
Besides the elimination of the swimsuit portion, the evening gown portion will see a change as well. Carlson told the morning show hosts that contestants will no longer be restricted in what they can wear and can now appear in "whatever they choose." They will now wear attire that "makes them feel confident, expresses their personal style, and shows how they hope to advance the role of Miss America."
Carlson said: "We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,’ so guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore. Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul," adding: "That's what we're judging them on now."