The next edition of the Miss America pageant will scrap swimsuits and will be more inclusive to women of all sizes, the contest announced Tuesday.
Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, announced on “Good Morning America” that the event will no longer feature a swimsuit portion.
Miss America will be a competition, not a pageant, Carlson said on the show Tuesday.
“We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge,” she said.
Carlson also said the new Miss America competition will be more inclusive to women of “all shapes and sizes.”
The official Miss America Twitter account tweeted a short video of a white bikini going up in a puff of smoke with the hashtag #byebyebikini.
In place of the swimsuit contest, the contestants will take part in a live interactive session with the judges, according to a statement from the Miss America Organization, “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.”
But the elimination of swimsuits isn’t the only change coming to the 97-year-old event. 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.
“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,”she said in the statement. “Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”
Some changes to the pageant’s format had been expected since the Miss America organization is now being led entirely by women for the first time.