The Miss America beauty pageant is scrapping its swimwear segment and will no longer judge competitors on physical appearance.
The evening gown section is also being axed, with contestants asked to wear something that makes them feel good and expresses their personal style instead.
Former winner Gretchen Carson broke the news on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“We will no longer judge our candidates on their outwards, physical appearance. That’s huge,” she said.
“We are no longer a pageant,” said Carlson, the first former Miss America to be named chair of the board of trustees of the Miss America organisation.
“We are a competition.”
Instead of the swimming costume segment, there will be interviews with the contenders, who will be asked about their passion, intelligence and understanding of the Miss America role.
Carson explained: “We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘we’d love to be a part of your programme but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit’. So guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore.
“Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person, from the inside of your soul?”
She added: “That’s what we’re judging them on now.”
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