In a revelationary decision, the Miss America beauty pageant is removing its swimwear segment and will no longer judge competitors on physical appearance. The evening gown section is also being cut out, with contestants asked to wear something that makes them feel good and expresses their personal style instead. Former winner Gretchen Carlson broke the news on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Carlson declared that they will not judge candidates based on their physical appearance hence turning the pageant into a competition.  They will replace the swimming costume segment and there will be interviews with the contenders instead, who will be asked about their passion, intelligence and understanding of the Miss America role.

Carlson explained that they had heard from a lot of young women that they would love to be a part of the new programme but don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit.

Miss America’s former executive director Sam Haskell, president Josh Randle, and other board members resigned over a scandal last year over vulgar emails disparaging contestants. In the emails, published by the Huffington Post, pageant officials made degrading remarks about past winners’ appearance, intellect, and sex lives.

In 2016, she settled a lawsuit against former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who stepped down from his role after mounting pressure from several employees with similar accusations. Ailes died last year. The 2019 Miss America Competition airs live on ABC on 9 September.

 The evening gown competition is being revamped as well. Carlson said contestants will now be able to wear whatever they choose. Contestants will also discuss how they would advance their social-impact initiatives during this part of the contest. The talent portion of the competition will remain.
The rise of the #MeToo movement is powering the changes, Carlson said. They are experiencing a cultural revolution in the country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues and Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.