How Miss America Contestants Really Feel About the No-Swimsuit Thing

The Miss America pageant was created 97 years ago, as a popularity and beauty contest to entice vacationers to visit Atlantic City. Over the years, it has evolved into much more — a scholarship program, and a platform for young women to raise awareness of their community service pursuits and jumpstart their professional ones, for example. But the show’s roots remained, and taking onstage turns in bathing suits and fancy gowns continued to be central to its draw. Then in June, under the new leadership of Gretchen Carlson, a television commentator and former Miss America herself, the swimsuit round of Miss America was eliminated — as was the word “pageant.” Carlson informed the world that the preferred nomenclature was “competition,” and Miss America 2.0 was born.

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