But the Miss America organizers just decided that it's time to get rid of this lookist criteria in the upcoming pageant. Because numerous state and local competitions that decide the Miss America finalists have already begun, the dropping of the swimsuit portion will not take effect at those levels until next year's competition, the organization said.
Miss Iowa 2016, Kelly Koch, also commented on the move, saying, "Miss America and Miss State have always been known to be not just talented, smart and articulate but also attractive".
Earlier this week, Gretchen Carlson, the new head of Miss America's board of directors, revealed that the competition will no longer judge women based on their physical appearance. "We have to move forward", she said. "We're interested in what makes you, you", she said. I think it's very important, health, fitness, how you carry yourself in an evening gown, how you speak, it's the whole package.
In the post "me too" era, more and more institutions are looking to better empower and protect women.More news: Primary polls close in key state for Dems
In recent years, women's groups and others have criticized the pageant.
All the people DeAngelis spoke to support the change, even those who have taken the title.
"Miss America is ending the swimsuit part of the competition this year and judging not on outward appearance but on talent and what the contestants have to say". I'm glad we've come a long ways from that.
The evening gown section is also being axed, with contestants asked to wear something that makes them feel good and expresses their personal style instead.More news: Leaked logo confirms Hitman 2
Many met the news with a cynical reaction, suggesting that the competition may be straying too far from its roots.
Carlson has been a champion of the #MeToo movement combating sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men in business, entertainment and media.
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. "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".
They want the competition to be inclusive to all women, DeAngelis reported. Williams was replaced by Suzette Charles from New Jersey, who is also African American, and went on to forge a successful film and stage career.TOM MIHALEK/AFP/Getty ImagesANGELA PEREZ BARAQUIO, 2001Angela Perez Baraquio, a Filipina from Hawaii, was the first woman of Asian descent to be crowned Miss America. In particular, she cites the interview that judges conduct with contestants. "For that reason, I'm OK with that swimsuit element going away".More news: ASUS announces new ZenBook, VivoBook notebooks, and VivoWatch BP healthcare wearable