Rooting for your favorite Miss America is going to look a lot different as the contest continues. The organization has made a big announcement saying it will no longer judge the competition based on physical appearance and plans to do away with the swimsuit and evening gown portions. They are also making it clear that they should no longer be considered a “pageant”.
ABC News reports about the big changes ahead for the Miss America competition that includes contestants from all 50 states as well as Washington D.C. Rather than their appearance, competition officials say they will put more focus on the women as individuals. They are replacing the long-standing swimsuit portion of the evening with a live interactive session with judges.
Gretchen Carlson, who is former Miss America and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization, has made it very clear that Miss America competitions will be very different going forward. Carlson said, “We are no longer a pageant, we are a competition.” Contestants will focus more on personally chosen causes called “social impact initiatives”. They will also be expected to explain to judges their social impact initiative and how they can use a Miss America title to make progress through their initiative.
And if you’re a fan of floor length gowns, you may want to stick to fashion shows. The evening gown portion of the competition is also being replaced with individually chosen clothing that makes the contestant feel confident and highlights her own personal style. Carlson explains that a lot of the changes come from feedback she has received from women who are interested in the competition, but felt changes could be made. She says, “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. That’s what we’re judging them on now.”
What do you think of the changes being made to the Miss America contest?
Will you be more or less likely to view the competition in light of these new changes?