Miss America is cutting the swimsuit competition from the pageant

The 97-year old pageant is shifting its focus from “physical appearance” to ”social impact” and ”female empowerment.”

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
June 6, 2018

Miss America is set to undergo a bit of a facelift in advance of the September 9th competition (part of this facelift involves rebranding itself as a “competition”, rather than a pageant). These changes come from the newly-appointed chair to Miss America’s now all-female board of directors, Gretchen Carlson, who wants to reframe the competition around inclusivity and “what makes you you.”

The major shift in focus that Carlson, herself a Miss America winner in 1989, is making to the event is a downplaying of physical beauty. Part of this pivot toward “no longer [judging] candidates based on their physical appearance” involves the dissolution of the already-questionable “swimsuit” portion of the competition, in its place a “social impact initiative” segment where contestants will be asked to “display their passion, smarts, and knowledge of Miss America’s broader social responsibilities in front of a panel of judges.”

These changes, according to Carlson, were inspired by the “cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues.” Between the competition’s restructuring toward nonstandard forms of beauty and focus on female-led social initiatives, it seems that Miss America is working well toward achieving its new mission to “evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”

Exclusive videos, interviews, contests & more.

sign up for the a.side newsletter

sign up