The Miss America pageant announced some changes this morning. Beginning this year, the competition will no longer feature a swimsuit event. Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989 and now chair of the Miss America board of directors, said, "We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance." She said Miss America is no longer a pageant, but a competition.
But the elimination of swimsuits isn't the only change coming to the 97-year-old event. The evening gown competition is being revamped as well. Carlson said contestants will now be able to wear "whatever they choose."
Contestants will also discuss how they would advance their social-impact initiatives during this part of the contest. The talent portion of the competition will remain.
The next Miss America competition will be September 9 in Atlantic City. We'll see a very different show, but the real test of the new ideas will be whether state pageants, er, competitions will change enough to attract a wider variety of contestants, which will only be apparent in in 2019.