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Miss America 2019

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Miss America
Date of Event: 9 Sep 2018 - 9 Sep 2018
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Miss America Organization Responds to Miss America 2018 Cara Mund's Letter


Updated August 17, 2018



On Friday, a letter from Miss America 2018 Cara Mund to Miss America stakeholders was leaked online. Mund expressed mistreatment from the Miss America Organization and revealed shocking details about what her reign has truly been like.

The Miss America Organization responded publicly on social media.

"The Miss America Organization supports Cara," the statement said. "It is disappointing that she chose to air her grievances publicly not privately. Her letter contains mischaracterizations and many unfounded accusations. We are reaching out privately to address her concerns."

The statement was posted to the Miss America Organization Instagram page and the commenting feature was turned off on the post, meaning that fans were incapable of voicing their concerns over Mund's later.


Preliminary Judges Announced!


Updated August 17, 2018



This year's 2019 Miss America Competition will be welcoming a diverse and extraordinary group of preliminary judges. The seven judges are recognized so far: Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner, entrepreneur, Emmy Award-winning Broadway & film stylist, musician, dancer, journalist, former state titleholder and authors! Preliminaries will take place at the historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, September 5, 6 and 7.

BONNIE CARROLL is President and Founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national support network for the families of America’s fallen heroes.

COURTNEY BLACKWELL BURTON is an arts and education executive who combines her experience as a professional dancer with her passion for developing the next generation of global leaders.

BOBBY H. GRAYSON is an Emmy Award-winning hair designer and stylist with an extensive career in television, film and theatre.

J’ANNA JACOBY has diverse experience in the music and entertainment industry. For the last two decades she has been a touring member of Rod Stewart’s band.

LYNE PITTS’ career in journalism spans four decades, with experience in print, broadcast and digital media.

NANCY REDD is an award-winning on-air host and aNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

BILL TOWNSEND is a life-long entrepreneur, having started over a dozen companies, including five that are publicly-held.

Petition State and Local Organizations for Immediate Resignation


Updated August 14, 2018



On Monday, August 13, eleven former Miss Americas started a petition calling on the state and local organizations and loyal volunteers to join the vote of no confidence in the current national leadership. Last month, 22 state organizations filed a petition of no confidence and threatened not to send their representatives to Miss America 2019.

This week, eleven former Miss Americas backed the no confidence petition from last month. After showing support, the former titleholders called on state directors, local directors and volunteers to sign a petition joining them in the demand for the resignation of the entire Board of Trustees and CEO and President. The petition states that there is a team of experienced people willing to lead the organization and shape the future of the Miss America Organization.

In less than eight hours, the petition gained over 1,500 signatures. Read the full petition below.

"Dear State Directors, Local Directors and Loyal Volunteers,
First and foremost, thank you for all that you do to make the Miss America Program a reality. You are the heart and soul of our organization.
We humbly ask for your undivided attention as you read this letter. You are our last hope.


We are so grateful for the efforts that many of you have undertaken to have your voices be heard by the leadership of the Miss America Organization. We are inspired by your love for the pageant, your persistence and your courage.
We have joined you in raising our voices and have tried with all of our might and strength to preserve the traditions of Miss America, but we cannot accomplish our mission without your clear, unequivocal and immediate response. The hour is late and the time for unified action is upon us now. We cannot delay, we cannot wish this current crisis away, and we cannot push it off to deal with at some later date.


Miss America is engaged in a great struggle about its identity and its future direction. We did not choose this struggle. It began because our past leaders demeaned women, breached their trust, harmed our brand, and needed to be removed. It was their actions alone that required a change in leadership. We made that change with the hope of creating unity and stability for our beloved organization.


In good faith, we joined together with a unified voice and decided that it would be best if our new leaders came from among our own ranks so that our voices and opinions would be heard and acknowledged at the national level. But in choosing our new leaders, we now recognize that we chose individuals that have sought to use MAO for their own self-centered purposes, not to regain trust and unite us. Instead these new leaders have decided to use this opportunity to force changes that we have not sought and that we did not demand.


Worse still, they have used their position and our goodwill to demean those in our ranks, to publicly question our ethics and motives, and they have made significant changes to our organization under false pretenses. It is hard to believe that this is the approach and tactics that our new leaders have adopted, but this is the place in which we now find ourselves, and we must again demand and require immediate change.


Upon further consideration of the facts, we now agree with the petition signed by the very brave 22 states’ executives. We understand that to begin again we must call for the resignations of our Chairwoman, our CEO and the entire Board of Trustees. Ultimately, we want to support the will of the states, and from what we gather, the 22 states are not the “noisy minority,” but in actuality, they include a quiet majority-who are just not ready to speak out-but why prolong the inevitable? As with the previous board, we asked formers to step down not because of personal reasons, but simply because they were part of the old regime that didn’t work. We are grateful to those former Miss Americas for graciously stepping down, even though their hearts were in the right place. They put aside any personal agendas and submitted to the will of the majority, in order to show respect and love for our organization. We honor those sisters for making the right decision, and we ask out leadership to do the same now.


The national leadership should seek the consent of the governed – we elected them and they need to answer to those they profess to serve. We had hoped that the reconstituted Board would work with truth and integrity. Regrettably, they have used their positions to mislead us, to systematically change many things that we hold dear, and they have removed (and threatened to remove) anyone who disagrees with their views. Have you stopped to consider what happens if the 22 states who signed the petition in July lose their licenses?


As you know, the telecast for this year is not in jeopardy, but the fate of the entire Miss America system is in great jeopardy if we do not act now. We are losing local competitions every day – they are just walking away. We are losing sponsors at the state and local levels. We are losing contestants who can’t afford the time or money needed to have an attorney review a 25-page contract. These and other onerous changes are pulling our organization apart on every level and in every state!


By signing your name to the Vote of No Confidence petition TODAY, you provide us with the ability to start the rebuilding process NOW. We can begin to put in place some safety nets in the event that the TV network, Casino Reinvestment Development Association (CRDA) and the production company decide not to continue supporting MAO and its mission. There is a group of experienced people ready to step in and play a transitional role with the production company and network.


A number of leaders within the states are prepared to drive solutions that flatten out the organizational structure. Right now, MAO is a top-down structure that keeps at a distance the state organizations that do 90% of the work. Decisions made by people who do not have their personal finances, reputations, business networks, communities etc involved in the heavy lift that’s involved in running a volunteer state or local organization cannot possibly know what is needed to keep the national organization nimble, responsive, ahead of the trends, and of course financially sound.


At its heart, Miss America is a grassroots volunteer organization and your state and local organizations are the lifeblood of this amazing nationwide system. The current leadership team has not served us well over the past 8 months, so it is necessary once again to elect a new leadership team that can unify our ranks. Miss America is bigger than any one or two individuals. The Miss America program has survived for 100 years because of you, and it must survive for another 100 years. But we must not allow the current leadership team to continue making changes to our program, some of which could be irreparable.
You and your volunteers are the heart and soul of this organization. You are our last hope. We need you to respond today, please, because we are running out of time.


Sincerely,
Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles
Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent-Tripp
Miss America 1992 Carolyn Sapp Daniels
Miss America 1995 Heather Whitestone McCallum
Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle
Miss America 1999 Nicole Johnson
Miss America 2001 Angela Baraquio Grey
Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap
Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron-Jackson
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss
Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell Maxwell"

Former Miss Americas Call for Immediate Resignation


Updated August 10, 2018



Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell Maxwell posted to her Facebook a demand for immediate resignation of both Miss America Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and Miss America President and CEO Regina Hopper. The demand, signed by Maxwell and 10 other former Miss Americas, discussed the frustration stemming from the new leadership and losing board members.

The former Miss Americas directly addressed "Faithful Stakeholders, MASTA, Volunteers and Miss America Cara Mund," in their letter calling for "resign[ation] now, not after September 9." Read the full statement below...

Dear Faithful Stakeholders, MASTA, Volunteers and Miss America Cara Mund,

We hear your concerned voices. We have seen the loss of your elected board members. We have witnessed more board members and staff resigning from the MAO office this summer. We continue to read newspaper articles that are not representing the organization in the best light. None of the other MAO leaders have lost so many board members and staff in such a short time.


We (former Miss Americas) were given a chance to replace the former Chairman and the whole board with our very own sisters. You have been gracious, giving us your support from the beginning.
When the scandal broke in December/January, we as former Miss Americas supported the appointment of two of our sisters for INTERIM co-chair positions. Our sisters were meant to serve only as interim board members. A national search was to be done for a new CEO who would have the experience and business acumen to carry us through such a crisis and bring our beloved Miss America Organization into a new century. We did not get that. Unfortunately, a majority of former titleholders who were voted onto the national board have stepped down or been removed, and our Chairwoman did not carry out the national search for CEO as promised. Instead, she selected the sole candidate for board consideration and together they have taken the organization in a direction that we do not condone.


While we supported our new leadership initially, we disagree with the way some decisions were made and communicated to the board, main stakeholders and public. We believe there should be an apology to the sponsors, volunteers and our state and local titleholders if anything was done purposefully or unintentionally to divide our program.


Healing is absolutely needed. However, this current leadership still struggles to gain trust from those that they need: the volunteers and current contestants. The recent Associated Press article “Miss America Head Gretchen Carlson Seeks ‘Healing Process.’" is concerning as it brings to light issues intertwined with the pageant that must be heard and addressed in an open, honest and respectful way.


We apologize to you for the hardships you have had to endure as a result of our Chairwoman's and CEO's unsupportive decisions. We do not accept the inaccurate words about the sponsors and swimsuit competition. We want to convey our support to state directors, the class of 2019 contestants, MASTA, volunteers and our reigning Miss America. We insist that our current Chairwoman and CEO resign now, not after September 9. We honor our commitments to help the organization and lift up our volunteers and contestants.


This is not meant to be a personal attack on any one individual. Our hope is to unite in collaboration and lift the ideals of Miss America up higher than it has ever been before.



Sincerely,
Miss America 1984 Suzette Charles
Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent-Tripp
Miss America 1992 Carolyn Sapp Daniels
Miss America 1995 Heather Whitestone McCallum
Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle
Miss America 1999 Nicole Johnson
Miss America 2001 Angela Baraquio Grey
Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap
Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron-Jackson
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss
Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell Maxwell


Is Miss America 2018 Being Silenced?


Updated August 5, 2018



At an appearance for Dairy Queen’s annual Miracle Treat Day, a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network, statements made by Miss America 2018 Cara Mund revealed that her reigning year has been a particularly difficult one.

Since Mund’s crowning last September, the Miss America Organization has experienced several major changes. In December, former CEO Sam Haskell and several other board members resigned after leaked emails revealed sexist comments had been made about former Miss Americas.

The new administration, led by former Miss America Gretchen Carlson as Chairwoman, recently announced the elimination of the ionic Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit phase of competition. While many have speculated that Mund has not been able to express herself freely this past year, these suspicions were largely confirmed in this new interview.

“There have been a lot of things I can’t control," Mund said. "It’s felt I wasn’t always heard or utilized or appreciated.” Mund also refused to answer several probing questions, stating “I can’t answer that; I’ll get punished.”

“While this has been a different year than any Miss America could have ever expected, MAO has worked to provide her a platform from which she can build her future," the Miss America Organization commented. "Every Miss America has ups and downs during their year as the experience is challenging and rewarding at the same time. MAO is proud of the work Cara has accomplished this year and how she has represented the scholarship principles of the program.”

Do you think Cara Mund should be allowed to speak her mind about the organization's changes? Is she being silenced?

Miss America Foundation Chairwoman Resigns


Updated July 26, 2018


Miss America 1991 Marjorie Vincent-Tripp, the Chairwoman for the Miss America Foundation, submitted a letter of resignation. The purpose of the Miss America Foundation is to fundraise the scholarship money for the contestants competing in the national Miss America competition. An attorney for the foundation did confirm Vincent-Tripp's resignation, though the reasons for her leaving are still unclear. This has people wondering whether the scholarship money promised to the candidates will actually be available to them.

Regina Hopper, President and CEO of the Miss America Organization, said she could not speak on Vincent-Tripp's departure as the Miss America Foundation is entirely separate from the Miss America Organization. She did however confirm the resignation of multiple national staff members, including Chief Financial Officer Eli Popicg.

With major roles being vacated with the Miss America Organization and the Miss America Foundation, will the organization survive?

Is the Miss America Organization Falling Apart?


Updated July 26, 2018


Miss America state titleholders gathered on Wednesday for their Miss America Orientation with Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and President Regina Hopper. While all titleholders were in attendance, some may not have signed their official contracts to compete at Miss America in just six weeks. Suzette Charles, Miss America 1984 is calling the situation, "a mess," as 22 state pageant organizations have revolted against the new leadership and called for their resignation.

This week Hopper called those not in favor of the changes made, "a very vocal minority," and said that the organization is moving forward. Many are worried that Miss America is going downhill, even questioning whether the scholarship money is available for the girls that earn it. A lot of concern comes from state titleholder contracts that include a clause that indicates the distribution of scholarship money is contingent on its availability. There are now state organizations that refuse to have their delegates sign the contract until the national organization can show proof that the scholarship money is being held in trust for the recipients.

Hopper explained that Miss America will be considered an employee of the Miss America Organization. This means she will be paid a salary to be Miss America and will be eligible for a raise if she goes above and beyond her duties. Some are concerned that this means she may also be an "at will" employee, meaning that she could be fired any time for any reason.

With just six weeks until the September pageant, the leadership has a lot to figure out if its going to put on a successful show.

Gretchen Carlson's Response to "No Confidence" and an Upset Former Titleholder


Updated July 9, 2018



Miss America Organization Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson responded publicly today to the "No Confidence" petition signed by 22 states. Needless to say, Carlson's response left much to be desired as it offers little to no response to the state organizations' concerns.

"Change is difficult," Carlson said to Good Morning America. "When I took on this role of leading this organization six months ago, we had a lot of work to do. And swimsuit has been a part of Miss America since it started in 1921 and many of the volunteers and state EDs, executive directors, have been around for a long time and it is tradition. But at the same time, this board unanimously decided that we needed to move this program forward and we are so thrilled with the people that we have heard from."

"Communications lines have been more transparent than ever before and we're going to continue to work on that because this organization is built by volunteers and we appreciate all of their efforts," Carlson added.

Initially, it appeared that 30 Miss Americas were offering their support for the board's Miss America 2.0 changes. It has recently come to light that some of the Miss Americas initially listed on the letter of support did not actually agree to the letter at all.

Miss America 1962 Maria Beale Fletcher revealed in another letter to her fellow Miss Americas that her name was used without her permission in the issued statement and requested for it to immediately be removed from all places it had been posted. Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell posted her full support for Beale Fletcher's letter and stated that no one will find her name on the statement from former Miss Americas. Read the letter in full below:

"Dear Miss America Sisters, and Mary McGinnis Blackburn,

I am startled to discover Mary McGinnis Blackburn's letter on Facebook, including my name among 30 Miss Americas, purporting to support a petition I've never seen. The posting on Facebook is the first time I have ever seen the "Mary McGinnis Blackburn - Statement from Former Miss Americas"!

I, Maria Beale Fletcher, Miss America 1962; did not and do not authorize you to use my name in this post on Facebook or any other media distribution of Mary McGinnis Blackburn "statement from former Miss Americas"!

Mary McGinnis Blackburn, you are not allowed to use my name without my knowledge and permission! Again, I did NOT give you my approval to use my name to support your petition

While I continue to love and appreciate all my Miss America Sisters, including you, Mary McGinnis Blackburn, the "facts" are changing moment to moment, even as I write this. Everyone appears to have a "personal or political" agenda.

Finally! Lest we forget who made us who we are as title holders, past and present: There could be no Miss America Competition without the "full and complete support of the State and Local Directors" - those wonderful volunteers who recruit candidates (contestants!), scholarships, and all the additional resources necessary which make the Miss America Competition a success on every level, year after year!

Immediately remove my name from your petition, and post a change notification on Facebook and any other media where this document appears.

Mary McGinnis Blackburn, should Nina be interested in supporting your document, please correct the spelling of my Sister's last name; it is "Davuluri", (sic) not the way you have spelled her name!

Maria Beale Fletcher
Miss America 1962"

Private Details Emerge Behind "No Confidence" Petition


Updated July 8, 2018
After a petition filed by 22 state organizations calling for the immediate resignation of Miss America leadership, further information has been released. (Read our update below to be caught up to speed!) Several reasons have been named to cause this “No Confidence” petition: a stressful culture, lack of capable leadership, transparency, and attention to detail.

First, a new clause on state contracts issued in January 2018 following the leadership transition stated that licenses could be revoked at any time without warning, causing the state organizations, volunteer-based, to “live in fear”.

Second, the information cited a lack of relative experience that qualifies both Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper. Calling out specifically and article that highlighted Hopper’s firing from a prior employer (ITS America) which cited incompetence and a toxic work culture.

Additionally, there is a question of clarity as it relates to the elimination of the swimsuit competition. State organizations were led to believe that it came down to a very simple ultimatum – either eliminate swimsuit or lose all national sponsors and the television contract. It has come to light, according to this rebuttal, that ABC nor the production company made such demands.

Finally, the follow-up suggests that the treatment of the current Miss America, Cara Mund, has been less than satisfactory - using the words “silenced, dismissed, and micromanaging”, and claiming that her treatment is contrary to how a women’s empowerment organization should be run.

However, former Miss America's have stepped up to state their allegiance with the current regime.

"“We as former Miss America’s fully support Gretchen Carlson, Debbye Turner, Heather French Henry and our unified board who are and have been working tirelessly to move our program forward. We hope that the voices of our majority can and will be heard.

Our Board needs our support now more than ever with the focus being on the current young women and providing a positive experience for them in Atlantic City and for future generations to come.”

Respectfully your Miss Americas,

1.Dorothy Benham
2.Susan Powell
3.Susan Perkins
4.Judi Ford
5.BeBe Shopp
6.Marilyn Van Derbur
7.Kira Kazantsev
8.Mallory Hagan
9.Angela Baraquio
10.Kylene Barker
11.Terry Meeuwsen
12.Jackie Mayer
13.Lee Meriwether
14.Elizabeth Ward
15.Maria Fletcher
16.Debra Barnes
17.Debra Maffett
18.Lauren Nelson
19.Jane Jayroe
20.Donna Axum
21.Kaye Lani Rae Rafko
22.Sharlene Wells
23.Sharon Kay Ritchie
24.Rebecca King
25. Katie Stam
26. Vonda VanDyke
27. Nina Davaluri
28. Jennifer Berry
29. Marjorie Vincent"

MAO State Leadership Insists on the Resignation of the Board of Trustees


Updated July 7, 2018



With the announcement of “Miss America 2.0,” major changes have been made to the Miss America Organization under the direction of Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and President and CEO, Regina Hopper. From the elimination to the swimsuit competition to the new scoring breakdown, not everyone is happy with these adjustments.

22 state representatives have signed a petition that insists on the immediate resignation of the entire Miss America Board of Trustees. The board includes Gretchen Carlson, Regina Hopper and several others.

“We were promised transparency, competence, and adherence to best practices and good
governance,” said the petition. “The current Trustees and identified staff member have both individually and collectively failed to deliver on those promises and commitments. In our opinion their leadership has demonstrated that ‘Miss America 2.0’ is simply a new title for the same old tactics of obfuscation and fear-based governance.”

In an interview with Jackson Sun, the President and Producer of the Miss Tennessee Pageant, Jimmy Exum said there has been hardly any communication between the national organization and the state organizations. The state boards were only notified of the elimination of the swimsuit competition two days prior to it being announced by Carlson on national television.

He said, “It was a directive with no input from us, and it’s like someone in charge where you work telling you they’re making these changes but they don’t know yet what those changes will look like.”

The following states’ representatives signed the petition: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

The Miss America Organization has yet to publicly respond to this petition.


NEW SCORING ANNOUNCED


Updated July 6, 2018


The Miss America Organization has released its new judging criteria and score breakdown. Now that the Lifestyle and Fitness competition has been eliminated, the remaining phases of competition will contribute more to each contestant’s overall score. Previously, the Lifestyle and Fitness competition made up 15% of the preliminary score and 10% of the final competition score.

The Miss America 2019 contestants will undergo five phases of competition while competing for the Miss America crown. These include a personal interview with the preliminary judges, an on-stage interview, the evening wear competition, the talent competition and a final conversation for the job.

During the personal interview with the preliminary judges, contestants will speak with the judges while wearing their own choice of interview wear. They will each be evaluated on their ability to fulfill the responsibilities of being Miss America, their social impact and their commitment to continuing their education. The judges will also be looking at each contestant’s ability to distinguish their beliefs about the world based off of their personal knowledge. This will make up 20% of the contestant’s preliminary score.

During both the preliminary and final night competitions, contestants will participate in an on-stage interview. While contestants will be evaluated in the same way they were evaluated during the private interview, this type of interview will allow the audience to have more insight into the candidates’ personality, intelligence and abilities. This phase of competition will count for 15% of a contestant’s preliminary score and 25% of their final score.

While competing in the evening wear competition, contestants will be wearing an outfit of their choice that reflects “red carpet glamour.” Judges will be evaluating each contestant on their personal style, confidence, stage presence and carriage. During this time, the judges and audience will also hear about the contestant’s social impact initiative for social media. The evening wear competition will count for 15% of each contestant’s preliminary score and 20% of their final score.

The talent competition will be seeing the biggest change in score weight during the 2019 Miss America competition. During this competition, the contestants will be evaluated on their performance skills, stage presence and technique. Their talent as a whole will also be evaluated, as judges will consider the totality of elements, which includes costume, props and music, as well as the enjoyability and reliability of the entire performance. This phase of competition will count for 50% of each contestant’s preliminary score and 30% of their score during finals night.

During finals night, the remaining top finalists will participate in a final conversation for the job with the judges. Each contestant will have the chance to express why she is the best woman to fill the role of Miss America, what she plans to do with the title and her plans once her year of service is complete. In addition, contestants will be asked about their career goals and how they plan to use the platform of being Miss America to become a future leader in the country.

While contestants will have another chance to impress the judges during the final night of competition, their performance during the preliminary competition will still have an impact on the results. A composite score of 25% will carry over into the final night competition based off of each contestant’s preliminary placement.

Why Did Miss America Eliminate Swimsuit?


So now that we've all had some time to process the major changes that Miss America Organization Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson announced (you know, eliminating the lifestyle and fitness competition and the word "pageant" all together), let's think about why these changes could have happened. It definitely makes sense that Miss America needed a change, but could there be network intervention involved? Is it all thanks to Miss America's new focus on women's empowerment? Are there external sources contributing to the decision? Is it an effort to rebrand the organization in the wake of the highly publicized email scandal?
 
First, let's frame this with the societal context we have. In light of the #MeToo Movement, media and huge businesses are shifting their focus to ways to prevent sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Like other nationally televised pageants, the Miss America Organization has to answer to a media company. ABC, the network that hosts the Miss America "competition," and its corporate sponsors (read: big businesses that advertise with ABC) may see "bye, bye bikini" as more congruent with the changing societal expectations.
 
Second, we know the Miss America Organization Board of Directors have been facing an uphill battle since December 2017 with the major email scandal involving former CEO Sam Haskell degrading and demeaning former Miss Americas via email. As the Board tries the save the organization, it may have had to make drastic changes to protect the new image of Miss America and ABC's image. Further, if the Board couldn't make Miss America happen this year, would the annual competition continue?
 
Last, let's look at the past. There have been requests for organizational change before the scandal hit major news. Many said that the organization was in need of an update and ABC definitely could have requested changes. As the organization is still recovering from last year's events, it's entirely possible that there was more of a push for change than there has been in the past.

Update: Miss America 2.0

On June 5, 2018, the Miss America Organization announced that contestants will no longer be judged on physical appearance. Effective for the 2019 pageant year, the swimsuit competition is no longer an area of competition.

But what will replace the swimsuit competition? According to www.missamerica.org, “In its place, each candidate will participate in a live interactive session with the judges, where she will highlight her achievements and goals in life and how she will use her talents, passion, and ambition to perform the job of Miss America.” We don’t know what this means yet, but we are anticipating the Miss America 2019 pageant for more answers.

However, the swimsuit competition isn’t the only aspect of the competition that is undergoing major change. The evening wear competition will no longer be the same. “The former evening gown competition will now give participants the freedom to outwardly express their self-confidence in evening attire of their choosing while discussing how they will advance their social impact initiatives.” Many theorize that dresses will no longer be worn by all contestants in the evening wear competition.

It appears that the talent and interview competitions will remain the same for now.

Gretchen Carlson, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent, and empowerment. 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 Finds a Home Again


In the months following the Miss America email debacle, the future home of the Miss America Organization has been up in the air. The Miss America Organization in a joint conference with Atlantic City officials announced that the pageant would be staying in the city for this year.

With local politicians calling for the city to take away its monetary support of the organization, many Miss America supporters were worried that the 2019 pageant would be homeless. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved $4.325 million in supplemental funding for the 2019 Miss America Competition, in accordance with its 2016 contract between the Authority, the Miss America Organization and Dick Clark Productions. Despite the announcement that the Miss America Organization will be allowed to remain in Atlantic City for its 2019 pageant, there was no word about when that pageant is set to take place.

A major reason behind the Authority's agreement to honor its contract, even after the late 2017 email scandal, seems to be the efforts to reinvent the Miss America Organization. "The CRDA is encouraged by the Miss America Organization's description that the 2019 competition will be updated to include a focus on women's empowerment and other related programs," said Robert E. Mulcahy III, CRDA board chairman. "In 2016, the CRDA signed a joint agreement with the Miss America Organization and Dick Clark Productions. Today, by this resolution we will reserve the funds for the 2019 competition pursuant to this agreement."

Who will be the new Miss America?

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