Women in bikinis and evening gowns will no longer be part of the Miss America competition.
The swimsuit portion will be replaced by a panel interview of contestants.
Former Miss America winner and chair of the board of trustees of the Miss America Organization — Gretchen Carlson — said they will focus on the competitor’s scholarship, talent, and social impact.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Carlson said, “We are no longer a pageant, we are a competition. We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge.”
Fil-Am pageant winner Trisha Bantigue says that she is for the inclusion of all shapes and sizes; however, she and others she spoke to are against the change.
“Our reactions stem from it being irrational because these segments are actually a positive reinforcement to the women that competes. I mean, the swimsuit segment promotes a healthy and fit lifestyle. And I’ve honestly seen more and more women of all shape and sizes go up in swimsuits, and they are still considered extremely toned.”
Bantigue has her own ideas for change.
“Increasing their age limit which is currently at 24, it’s pretty young. And also allowing single moms to compete. To me, it doesn’t matter what a girl wears but what she does for herself and for the ones around her that make a lasting impact.”
State or local level beauty contests will not be affected by the change.
“Those young women who are now competing, they will compete under the old program to get to Miss America,” said CEO Regina Hopper. “And then when they get to Miss America, they will compete under the new program. So I’ve said, this Miss America is going to be adaptable.”