Miss America 2018-2019 is finally here, and viewers will notice some changes in this year’s programming.
First off, the event is no longer called a “pageant”. Instead, it’s being billed as “competition”.
What else? There is no more bikini or evening gown section. That’s right– the contestants will no longer be strutting their stuff in a two-piece bathing suit or fancy dress. What’s taking place instead?
According to NWA Online, instead of the bikini portion, there will be a “live interactive” session with the judges, during which the contestants will be asked “to demonstrate their passion, intelligence, and overall understanding of the job of Miss America.”
And, in place of the evening gowns, the women will wear clothing that expresses their own perosnal styles.
Changes in this year’s competition are heavily influenced by the women’s Me Too and Time’s Up movements. But how do the women feel about it? Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri, recently told In Style, “A lot of people don’t like change… When I won Miss America, I went in with the idea that the organization needed to change, and I was part of that,” she says. “The girl next door has evolved — but when I won, there was lots of backlash. Change is hard, but it’s also really important.”
Recently, it was revealed that because of these changes, there will be more weight put on the talent portion. Current Miss America Cara Mund says, “The elimination of swimsuit may open the organization up to more people, but it might exclude other people to put so much weight on the talent portion.”
She continues, “I think everyone was already welcome [in Miss America], and you saw that across local and state levels. My hope is that the increase in talent doesn’t discourage people who would say, ‘I don’t have a talent, I can’t do that…’ I do know that although my talent was dancing, during my year as Miss America, I have not danced once, so for that aspect to be worth 50 percent of your score — why compete with something you’re not going to do?”
Miss America 2.0 will air Sunday at 9pm ET/PT on ABC. It will span two hours.