Gretchen Carlson, the new chair of the board of trustees for the Miss American Organization, announced the changes on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday morning as part of the competition's attempt to shift its emphasis away from comparing women's looks and bodies. She said that the swimsuit portion is not the highest-rated portion and that viewers seem more interested in the talent competition.
The Miss America beauty pageant has announced it is dropping its swimsuit round and will no longer judge participants based on their appearance.
The 97-year-old competition is also discarding its evening gown section and asking contestants to wear clothes that make them feel confident.
Carlson said since the competition is no longer about heels and swimsuits, it will now champion leadership, empowerment, and how women will pay for college. Vincent-Tripp, an assistant attorney general at the Florida Office of the Attorney General, was Miss America 1991. So guess what, you don't have to do that anymore. Instead, the new evening gown competition will give contestants "the freedom to outwardly express their self-confidence in evening attire of their choosing while discussing how they will advance their social impact initiative", according to a representative for Miss America. Miss America was crowned but a runner-up received the top swimsuit trophy. Once her contract ended, however, Carlson filed (and eventually settled) a lawsuit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, and has since been an outspoken advocate against sexual harassment.
In another first, all three leaders are former pageant winners in the Miss America system.
The 2019 Miss America Competition is set to air at 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 on ABC.
The Miss America Organization had its own scandal after emails leaked from the former president, criticizing the contestants' physical appearances. But I did recognize the significance of that part of the competition.
Carlson noted that the changes aim to foster a more "inclusive" and "transparent" environment within the competition, and hopefully be more appealing to a younger audience.
Carlson said the Miss America Organization will emphasize its role as a scholarship provider.
The rise of the #MeToo movement is powering the changes, Carlson said.
Miss America has undergone a major overhaul in response to the Me Too movement.