Miss America 2019 has been crowned, and she’s thankful the bikinis have been ditched.
Representing New York, Nia Imani Franklin won the title in Atlantic City on Sunday night, in the first competition since the 98-year-old pageant scrapped the swimsuit segment, the Associated Press reports.
After taking the crown and the $50,000 scholarship, Franklin, who is a classical vocalist, took the opportunity to tell reporters how glad she was that she didn’t have to don a bathing suit to win the competition.
“These changes, I think, will be great for our organisation,” she told reporters after the event, according to AP.
“I’ve already seen so many young women reaching out to me personally as Miss New York asking how they can get involved because I think they feel more empowered that they don’t have to do things such as walk in a swimsuit for a scholarship.
“And I’m happy that I didn’t have to do so to win this title tonight because I’m more than just that,” Franklin continued. “And all these women onstage are more than just that.”
“All these women onstage are more than just that.”
Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989 and chair of the Miss America Organization, was the champion behind the swimsuit scrap. Carlson said the aim was to reposition the pageant as a “competition,” and that women apparently wouldn’t be judged on their physical appearance.
The swimsuit segment was fittingly replaced with an interview section.
“We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be part of your program, but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,'” Carlson said on GMAat the time. “So, guess what? You don’t have to do that anymore.”
The decision wasn’t entirely met with enthusiasm by all. When the initial announcement was made in June, the bro community was quite frankly devastated.
And AP reports that just before the national broadcast began, a comedian warming up the crowd mentioned the swimsuit segment’s omission and was met with loud boos by some of the audience.
But it’s not just the audience reacting like this. Many of the Miss America state pageant organizations are reportedly unhappy with the swimsuit decision, with 46 of the 51 organizations demanding Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper resign.
But frankly, what a necessary move.
Without it, the Miss America
pageant competition (judging and scoring womens’ bodies) would not survive the #MeToo era. Plain and simple.