The Miss America competition is trading bikinis for brainy banter, as part of a series of “groundbreaking changes” that mark a move away from judging candidates on outward physical appearance.
The board of trustees of the Miss America Organization announced on Tuesday that effective with this year’s show, airing Sunday, Sept. 9 on ABC, the swimsuit portion of the competition is getting shuttled. In its place, each candidate will participate in a live interactive session with the judges, where she will “highlight her achievements and goals in life, and how she will use her talents, passion and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.”
Similarly, what was previously the “evening gown competition” will now give participants the freedom to outwardly express their self-confidence in evening attire of their choosing, while discussing how they will advance their social impact initiatives.
The talent portion of the competition remains unchanged.
“We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent and empowerment,” board of trustees chair Gretchen Carlson said in a statement. ”We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues. Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”