"We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That's huge," Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of the Miss America board of directors, announced on Good Morning America.
This is just one of several major changes coming to the 97-year-old annual affair. Aside from dropping the swimsuit contest, the Miss America Organization is making the competition inclusive to women of "all shapes and sizes." The org is also dropping the name “pageant” in favor of labeling the Miss America event a “competition.”
The Miss America Twitter account shared the news with a short video of a white bikini disappearing in a puff of smoke, using the hashtag #byebyebikini.
During the evening gown part of this year’s competition, contestants will also be able to wear "whatever they choose."
These exciting changes come as a result of the Miss America organization being led entirely by women for the first time in its long history. After decades of criticism and scandals, some involving President Donald Trump, women have taken over the competition since its former leaders resigned in December.
The organization is being led by Regina Hopper, who was appointed president and CEO of the Miss America Organization last month, and Marjorie Vincent-Tripp, who was named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Foundation, alongside Carlson. All three women were former contestant winners. Hopper was Miss Arkansas in 1983. Vincent-Tripp was Miss America 1991. And Carlson was Miss America 1989.
The next Miss America competition will be held on September 9 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.