2018-06-05 15:55:32 UTC
'Miss America' Eliminates Swimsuit Competition;
Will Not Judge On Appearance
by Nancy Tartaglione
June 5, 2018 7:00am
"We are no longer a pageant," declared Gretchen Carlson, chair of the
board of trustees of the Miss America Organization, as she outlined
sweeping changes for the 2019 Miss America Competition this morning.
Those include eliminating the swimsuit portion of the event as well as
tweaking the evening gown section. Effective this September, the 51
women representing their home states and the District of Columbia "will
no longer be judged on outward physical appearance."
Carlson, a former Miss America and Fox News contributor who sued Roger
Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016, appeared on ABC's Good Morning
America Tuesday to deliver the news that candidates will no longer be
judged on their looks. "We're interested in what makes you, you," she
The changes will first be seen during ABC's September 9 live broadcast
from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
The event originated in 1921 as a bathing beauty revue, but will
henceforth see candidates participate in a live interactive session
with the judges rather than swanning by in high heels and high-cut
swimsuits. Each 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.
The former evening gown competition will now give participants "the
freedom to outwardly express their self-confidence in evening attire of
their choosing while discussing how they will advance their social
The talent portion remains unchanged. Carlson was asked about a
potential ratings loss in kiboshing the swimsuits and she told GMA,
"That's not a highly-rated part of the competition. People actually
like the talent part of the competition."
Carlson said on GMA, "We want to be open, transparent, inclusive to
women who may not have felt comfortable participating in our program
before. But look, we have always had talent and scholarship and we need
to message that particular of the program better as well."
She added, "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."