Miss America Ditches Swimsuits
Miss America will be seeing major changes at this year's competition.
Miss America Board of Directors Chair Gretchen Carlson announced at 7:30 a.m. that the event will no longer feature a swimsuit competition and that the organization would be revamping their evening gown section of the competition.
"We are no longer a pageant, we are a competition," Carlson announced Tuesday morning.
Carlson appeared on "Good Morning America" Tuesday to announce the change to the Miss America Competition, which will return to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Sept 6-9.
Carlson said that the organization would no longer judge contestants on their outward physical appearances and that the changes would be going into effect for this year’s competition.
In its place, candidates will participate in a live interactive session with the judges, highlighting their achievements and goals in life, according to a press release from the Miss America Organization.
For the evening gown section of the competition, candidates will now have the freedom to wear the attire of their choosing while discussing how they will advance their social impact initiatives, the release said.
The talent portion will remain in the competition.
"We want to be open, transparent and inclusive to women who did not feel comfortable participating in our competition before," Carlson said Tuesday.
Carlson said on "Good Morning America" that the swimsuit section of the show was not as highly-rated of a competition as some may believe.
”We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues. Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement,” Carlson said in the press release.
Carlson, who took over as Chair of the Miss America Board of Directors in January, previously said she planned to immediately work with all Miss America stakeholders to continue an ongoing inclusive and transparent process in the changes to the organization.
Former Miss Arkansas 1983 Regina Hopper took the role of CEO of the Miss America Organization in May. Hopper said recently it is time for the “revisioning and rebranding” of the Miss America Organization.
“Miss America’s new mission statement is: ‘To prepare great women for the world, and to prepare the world for great women,’” Hopper said in the press release. “We want more young women to see this program as a platform upon which they can advance their desire to make a real difference and to provide them with the necessary skills and resources for them to succeed in any career path they choose.”
The Miss America Organization teased the announcement Monday with a revamped website, touting "Miss America 2.0".
Rounding out the all female leadership of the MAO, former Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent- Tripp was named as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Miss America Foundation. The nonprofit foundation is responsible for the annual scholarships awarded to Miss America competitors, and recently unveiled the plan for a new scholarship available to non-pageant competing women and will be first offered to students of Atlantic City High School.
The Miss America pageant began in Atlantic City in 1921, as a part of the "Fall Frolic" - a two-day event staged by local businessmen to extend the summer tourist season.
16-yer-old Margret Gorman of Washington D.C., won the contest for “The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America,” which later that year became titled “Miss America”.
During the original contest, the competing women wore one-piece swimming costumes and tights. In 1947, the first two-piece swimsuit was worn during the competition, which was later rescinded until 1997.
The Miss America Organization says the women have always been judged on personality, interactions with the crowd and interviews with the judges' panel. However, the underlying "beauty pageant" tone of Miss America has always been a point of contention.
Last year, a second onstage question was added to the televised Miss America Competition. The top seven finalists were asked a more lighthearted "personality question", then two competitors were eliminated and the top five finalists were asked the more traditional "current events question".
Photos and information courtesy of www.pressofatlanticcity.com