When we think of Miss America, we think of heels, tiara, and swimsuits, but the women who've recently taken over leadership of the organization are redefining that image.
Speaking on "Good Morning America" Tuesday morning, former Miss America and current chairperson of the organization, Gretchen Carlson, announced the end of the swimsuit competition, something contestants told her they didn't want to do.
"We're not going to judge you on your appearance because we are interested in what makes you you," she said, noting that Miss America will now be inclusive to women of "all shapes and sizes."
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The decision marks a seachange in the organization that is now being lead by a trio of former Miss Americas (Regina Hopper and Marjorie Vincent-Trip were recently appointed as president and CEO, and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Foundation, respectively) after previous leaders in the organization resigned amid controversy in late 2017.
After two unnamed sources provided HuffPost with years of internal emails from the Miss America Organization, change was needed at the top, as it was revealed that former leadership disparaged former Miss America contestants, mocking their looks, weight, intelligence, and past sex lives.
Under the new guard, the swimsuit competition is scrapped, replaced with a Q&A session "where [a contestant] 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 organization said in a statement.
"We want more young women to see this program as a platform upon which they can advance their desire to make a real difference and to provide them with the necessary skills and resources for them to succeed in any career path they choose," says Regina Hopper.
The first no-swimsuit Miss America competition will be broadcast September 9. Carlson isn't worried ditching the bikinis will be bad for ratings. She says more viewers tune in for the talent competitions than the swimsuit segment.
Carlson said she is not worried ratings for the nationally televised broadcast might suffer because of the elimination of swimsuits. She said that the swimsuit portion is not the highest-rated section of the broadcast and that viewers seem to be more interested in the talent competition.