The Miss American pageant has decided to forgo the swimsuit edition part of the pageant. It is also changing its theme to be more of a competition than a pageant, hence getting rid of the swimsuits. The swimsuit part of the competition will now be replaced with the contestants having live interactions with the judges. The evening gown portion of the competition will also change with the contestants now being able to wear “an attire that makes them feel confident, expresses their personal style.” The pageant will also be inclusive of women of all shapes and sizes.

According to Gretchen Carlson, Chairwoman of Miss American Board announced that the Miss American pageant the judges will “no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance.”

“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 said. “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 continued, “That’s what we’re judging them on now.”

Gretchen is no stranger to the “competition” she was crowned Miss America back in 1989 but is probably most recently known for suing former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Ailes later stepped down after more employees came forward with similar accusations, he passed away in 2017. Gretchen has also been outspoken about sexual harassment and has been an advocate for victims and part of the #MeToo movement.

The changes to the Miss American Pageant are aimed to empower women and they are hoping that this will also attract more women to apply to be part of the program.