The Miss America competition used to emphasize outward beauty by having the contestants participate in both a swimsuit and an evening gown competition. But for the second year in a row, the competition is judging the women solely on the inner beauty and the impact they are having on the world around them.
In 2018, the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization announced via press release that the pageant was doing away with swimsuits and evening gowns in order to let each of the contestants “highlight her achievements and goals in life” and how she will “use her talents, passion, and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.”
Swimwear was done away with altogether, while evening wear was replaced with the time in the pageant where the women would discuss their “social impact initiatives” while wearing the “evening attire of their choosing” to “outwardly express their self-confidence.” And actually, the competition doesn’t want to be known as a “pageant” any longer.
“We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent, and empowerment,” said Gretchen Carlson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, adding “We’re experiencing a cultural revolution in our country with women finding the courage to stand up and have their voices heard on many issues. Miss America is proud to evolve as an organization and join this empowerment movement.”
“Miss America’s new mission statement is: ‘To prepare great women for the world, and to prepare the world for great women,'” said Regina Hopper, President & CEO. “We want more young women to see this program as a platform upon which they can advance their desire to make a real difference and to provide them with the necessary skills and resources for them to succeed in any career path they choose.”
Indeed, the winner of Miss America embarks on a 365-day “year of service” in which she represents the organization all over the country and sometimes in other countries. The winner and the Miss America Organization work hand in hand to “develop goals and execute on tactics to advance her chosen Social Impact Initiative, setting metrics and developing partnerships which will show positive results at the end of her year.”
Additionally, Miss America also serves as the National Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She helps to raise funds and awareness for families who cannot afford quality medical care in urgent circumstances. Since 2007, the Miss America Organization has raised over $17 million for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
The organization will also award over $300,000 in scholarship money to its contestants this year. In the 2020 competition, there are four categories of scholarships given out: Equity and Justice, Social Impact Initiative, STEM, and Women in Business. Each category featured five finalists.
There will also scholarships given out for Jean Bartel Military Scholarship ($3,000); Allman Medical Scholarship ($5,000); Athlete Scholar Scholarship ($2,000); Beacom College STEM Scholarship at Dakota State University ($5,000).
The 2020 Miss America competition, hosted by Access Hollywood hosts Kit Hoover and Mario Lopez, airs live Thursday, December 19 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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