Miss America Telecast Drops Swimsuit Competition in Nod to Changing Times

The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday.

The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. Instead, each contestant will take part 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,” the Miss America Organization said.

The modifications for the upcoming telecast were unveiled by Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America who is chair of the board of trustees of the Miss America Organization. Carlson came on board in January following a shakeup spurred by the disclosure of email correspondence that revealed Miss America leaders making disparaging remarks about current and former contestants.

Carlson said the end of the swimsuit segment — a staple of beauty pageants — reflects changing cultural norms and the latest wave of female empowerment initiatives.

“We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent and empowerment,” said Carlson, chair of the board of trustees. ”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.”

The Miss America telecast will still have an evening-wear competition but contestants will be encouraged to “outwardly express their self-confidence in evening attire of their choosing,” the org stated.

More TV

  • Univision logo

    Univision, Dish Spar Over Potential Blackout as Contract Deadline Looms

    The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday. The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. […]

  • Harry Kane of England celebrates scoring

    World Cup Live-Stream: How to Watch England vs. Panama

    The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday. The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'Portlandia': Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein Pick Their Proudest Musical Moments

    The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday. The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. […]

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday. The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. […]

  • Actors Kit Harington and Rose Leslie

    'Game of Thrones' Stars Rose Leslie and Kit Harington Married in Scotland

    The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday. The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. […]

  • Seth Rogen Says He Rejected Paul

    Seth Rogen Says He Rejected Paul Ryan's Request for a Photo

    The Miss America competition will no longer judge contestants on the basis of physical appearance, the new leaders of the embattled organization disclosed Tuesday. The changes mean the end of the swimsuit competition for the 51 women who compete for the title of Miss America in a pageant to be telecast Sept. 9 on ABC. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content