Miss America will no longer feature the swimsuit portion of its competition. The announcement was made Tuesday, June 5th on Good Morning America by the chair of the Board of Trustees for the Miss America Organization, Gretchen Carlson.
“We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance,” said Carlton, who was crowned Miss America in 1989.
In place of the swimsuit portion of the competition, contestants will now participate in a “live interactive session with the judges” in which they will be asked to”demonstrate their passion, intelligence and overall understanding” of the Miss America role.
Also on the chopping block is the evening gown portion of the competition. Contestants will now be asked to wear an outfit of their choice or any attire that makes them feel comfortable.
“It’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in, when they talk about their social impact initiatives,” Carlson said.
News of the Miss America restructuring has arrived nearly six months after the Miss America Organization Board of Directors recruited former contestants to assist in the selection of new leadership. Executive chairman and CEO Sam Haskell, chairman Lynn Weidner and president and COO Josh Randle all resigned last year following the publishing of emails that included derogatory comments about former contestants. Following the scandal, Carlson was elected chairman.
A former co-host of Fox & Friends, Carlson settled a $20 million lawsuit in 2016 against former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct. Since that time, Carlson has become an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement and an advocate for victims of sexual harassment.
Said Carlson about the Miss America Organization, “We are now open, inclusive and transparent. And I want to inspire thousands of young people across this country to come and be a part of this program because we want you and we want to celebrate your accomplishments and your talents and then we want to hand you scholarships.”
The 2019 Miss America competition will air Sunday, September 9th on ABC.