2019 Miss America Competition · Competition

A New Era, Miss America, pt 3

Catch Part One and Part Two of this blog series to get all caught up.

Today is Part Three, the final post of the New Era, Miss America blog series! I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts as somewhat of a “voice of reason” around hot topics. I’ve learned a few lessons in my life about spouting off in the heat of the moment and reacting out of fear-based anger: it doesn’t end well, haha!

To start, let’s look at the role body size plays in the Miss America Organization outside of the state winners.

If you actually know and follow your Miss America contestants to the ground level, you’ll actually see that larger women are ALREADY competing in the organization, even at the state level! They just don’t typically make it to the Miss America stage. Eliminating the swim suit competition will now potentially allow those women to do so.

But I want to make sure I acknowledge the other side of the coin. While yesterday I highlighted the unhealthy methods young women take to achieve “swimsuit-worthy” bodies, I have no desire to see the pendulum shift in the other direction.

America has a weight problem, and crowning an overweight Miss America in the name of inclusion does nothing to help our country recognize our health crisis as a problem instead of something to be celebrated as “comfortable in her own skin.”

I’m advocating for a healthy Miss America, period.

On to Evening Gown!

I admit, I was also shocked and saddened that evening gown got the ax….except it didn’t, LOL! I really think it’s splitting hairs to redefine evening “wear” as evening “attire” – and I 100% expect to see plenty of the same fashion we’ve seen in years past. And truth be had, these changes have caused a buzz storm of free publicity and press for the organization and those associated with it. I’d call that win-win!

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getty images

So what do I think these changes mean?

This year, more so than any other year, Miss America has much at stake and an audience to be gained by crowning someone they wouldn’t have in the past. If we see Miss America results produce the exact same type of winner we’ve always had, the world won’t have any reason to believe that the new changes do anything to change the outcome of the competition. It doesn’t mean in any way that thin people cannot compete with less thin people.

It does mean that if you were skating by before on your hot bod and killer wardrobe, you’ll want to be sure you start taking a good look AWAY from the mirror and focus your preparation elsewhere! Miss America has no compelling reason to crown you, unless you are the dynamic, intelligent, talented, and driven young woman for whom they are looking.

So, as someone who likes to make predictions about all things MAO, here’s what I predict we see from Miss America 2.0:

  • She will be more like Cara and less like Savvy. (Both of whom are outstanding Miss Americas!)
  • The general public won’t see anything different, partly because Cara is very much a Miss America 2.0 type person, and partly because we crowned all our state winners using the old criteria.
  • Very thin contestants who have competed in the system for a long time are at a disadvantage. We are pulling the rug out from under the young women who have killed themselves to be on that Miss America stage in swimsuit. They are somewhat opposite of a  symbolic fresh start and a picture of inclusivity. (Obviously this is pure speculation!) So I think Miss America finalists will be those who are basically the anti-patty, to use a bit of pageant lingo 🙂
  • I’m very curious to see if we retain the crown, sash, Burt Parks song, etc. I would really, really hate to see any of that go, but I also don’t see how it’s in keeping with the new direction of Miss America. I sincerely hope the MAO leaders find a way to still retain the glamour, excitement, sophistication, elegance, poise, and – yes, even beauty – that comes from pageantry. But I fear and predict many of our beloved traditions will be axed from the crowning as well. 😦

Lastly (selfishly), these changes are really, really good for #teamMYM. What we do here – recognition from state and national judges that our contestants’ paperwork is the best they’ve ever seen; mad interview skills; well-developed platforms and branding; Miss America-worthy talent arrangements and music cutting – none of that changes. I’ve said for years, you need to invest wisely in those areas if you want to win, and never before has this been more true or relevant than it will be going forward; now, it will take even less convincing that these are the skills that matter most. We will continue to mentor young women to discover who they are and what they stand for while using pageantry as a platform for purpose, passion, performance, and poise – all with the goal of making a unique and positive mark in the world.

To borrow a quote from our awesome Katie Kenney:

“We’re still wearing stilettos… just not in a swimsuit”.

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