Miss America pageant dropping swimsuit, evening gown competition

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The competition's contestants - representatives of all 50 US states - "will be asked to demonstrate their passion, intelligence and overall understanding of the job of Miss America", the show reported. The organization also says instead of evening ball gowns, contestants can wear attire that makes them feel confident and shows off their personal style.

Carlson said the organization wants to be open, transparent and inclusive to women who may have not been comfortable participating before.

"We have always had talent and scholarship", Carlson added, "and we need to message that part of the program better, as well".

"Miss America is ending its swimsuit competition, saying it will no longer judge candidates on their outward physical appearance. Yes!"

Tuesday's announcement came after leadership changes within the Miss America Organization.

Carlson says this competition has taken notice of that.

"In the climate of #MeToo, I think it's a really wise decision", she said.

The competition began almost 100 years ago in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a bathing beauty contest created to keep tourists coming to the seaside resort the weekend after Labor Day.

During the evening gown part of this year's competition, contestants will also be able to wear "whatever they choose". She said the swimsuit competition was something she felt she had to endure.

She said: "I never thought I'd be the chairwoman of the Miss America Organisation, but here I am and we're moving it forward and we're evolving in this cultural revolution".

Carlson, a former victor of the 97-year-old contest, said in a statement that judges would instead focus on competitors' scholarship, talent and social impact. Waring said she and other Miss Americas - they call themselves "the forevers" - were alerted to the switch during a conference call last week. That's apt, considering that Miss America's origins rest with an "Inter-City Beauty Contest" started in the early 1920s, with the prize going to "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America".

This leadership change followed the revelation that the men formerly in charge of the pageant "regularly maligned, fat-shamed and slut-shamed the former Miss Americas, calling them shocking names and in one case laughing at the suggestion that one of the women should die", according to leaked emails published in the Huffington Post. In 2016, Fox News settled a sexual harassment lawsuit Carlson had previously filed against former Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.

When asked about how the change will affect TV ratings, Carlson said she's not anxious about losing now that the program won't feature scantily clad women, adding that the talent segment actually receives higher ratings.

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