Miss America Drops Swimsuit Competition

“We are no longer a pageant,” board chair Gretchen Carlson says

The Miss America contest is killing the swimsuit competition from future editions and vowing to rule out physical appearance as a criterion for judging a winner, the organization announced Tuesday.

“We are no longer a pageant,” Gretchen Carlson, the former Miss America recently named chair of the Miss America Organization board of trustees, said on “Good Morning America.” “We are a competition.”

The organization is also eliminating the evening gown portion of the competition. Instead, contestants representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia will wear attire that makes them feel confident, expresses their personal style and shows how they hope to advance the role of Miss America.

The swimsuit parade will be replaced with a live interactive session with the judges, the organization announced.

“We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program 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,” Carlson told “GMA.”

“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.

Carlson, who was declared Miss America in 1989 before launching a career in broadcasting, has become an outspoken symbol of the #MeToo movement. In 2016, she settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

Carlson has promised a “tsunami” of changes at the Miss America Organization since taking over as board chair last year after CEO Sam Haskell was forced to resign after leaked emails revealed he had made disparaging comments about former contestants and winners.

This year’s contest is scheduled to take place on Sept. 9 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.