Changes are coming to Miss America! Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson appeared on ‘GMA’ June 5 to detail the competition’s new guidelines, including the end of the swimsuit portion of the event. Here’s the scoop!
Six months after Gretchen Carlson was named chairwoman of the Miss America pageant, the competition’s 1989 winner is making some big changes to the annual event in the midst of the #MeToo movement. In an effort to shift the focus from contestants’ bodies to their brains, Miss America is getting rid of the swimsuit portion of the event. “We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition. We will no longer judge candidates on their outward physical appearance,” Gretchen confirmed on Good Morning America June 5. “That’s huge. We will no longer have a swimsuit competition. That is official as of Sept. 9 when we have our competition in Atlantic City. We’ll be re-vamping our evening gown phase, as well. We’re no longer judging women when they come out in their chosen attire. It’s going to me what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in.”
Of course, it’s no secret that people have tuned into the pageant in the past to see gorgeous, scantily-clad women on television, but Gretchen confirmed that she and her fellow board members are not worried about ratings. “People actually like the talent part of the competition,” she assured. She also added that she believes these changes will empower young women everywhere. “We hear a lot of people say…we’d love to be part of your program, but we don’t want to be out there with high heels and a swimsuit,” she explained. “Guess what — you don’t have to do that anymore! You’re welcome. Come join us. We think we’re going to have a huge influx, not only in sponsors, but in young women. 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 you on.”
Gretchen was named Miss America’s chairwoman at the beginning of January, after former CEO/chairman, Sam Haskell, resigned. Sam’s resignation came following a leaked e-mail scandal, during which his shocking sexist and fat-shaming messages were exposed. Since her election as chairwoman, Gretchen has vowed to change the pageant for the better, and now, she’s well on her way to doing just that!