Miss America Eliminates Swimsuit Competition From Pageant

Playing Gretchen Carlson on Decision to Eliminate Miss America Swimsuit Competition

America’s famous pageant is getting a huge makeover with sweeping changes, including the elimination of the swimsuit competition.

The organization's new chairwoman, Gretchen Carlson, who won the title in 1989, has announced that the era of bikini clad beauty contestants is no more.

"When you look back at 1921 when it started, Miss America, as a bathing suit competition, it was actually a bold and brave move, because back then women were not seen in swimsuits in public," Carlson told Inside Edition. "We're actually taking that same empowerment of what the women were like back then and we're bringing it up to speed now."

In place of the swimsuit segment, contestants will now participate in a live interactive session with judges, where they can discuss achievements, goals and how they would approach the role of Miss America should they be crowned.

To officially announce the change, the Miss America organization posted a video to Twitter that showed a white bikini vanishing into smoke, the hashtag #byebyebikini and a title that read "Miss America 2.0."

“We're changing out of our swimsuits and into a whole new era #byebyebikini #MissAmerica2019,” the tweet said.

In addition, the evening gown segment will also be scrapped. Instead, the contestants will be able to wear whatever they think best represents them. This apparel could include pantsuits, cocktail dresses or an evening gown if they prefer.

"We’re not going to judge on what she’s actually wearing, we’re going to judge on the substance of what she talks about," Carlson said.  

Approving these changes alongside Carlson is current Miss America, Cara Mund of North Dakota.

“I think it's really exciting, because as society has evolved, so has the Miss America Organization," Mund said. "As Miss America, since the night I was crowned, I've never worn a swimsuit. We are looking for women that can fulfill the job and have the qualities of being Miss America and that doesn't mean wearing a swimsuit."

Carlson was at the forefront of the #MeToo movement, having successfully sued Fox News honcho Roger Ailes for sexual harassment in 2016.

She became chairwoman of the organization after fat-shaming and insulting emails written by pageant officials, including former CEO Sam Haskell, were leaked. Haskell apologized for the emails and claimed they were taken out of context.

“Now women like me who never envisioned themselves on the Miss America stage, now they can be there because they don't have to compete in what a lot of people deem uncomfortable phases of the competition," Carlson said.

The revamped "Miss America 2.0" Competition will take place on Sunday, Sept. 9 in Atlantic City.

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