NEW YORK (WKOW) -- Miss America will get rid of its swimsuit competition, the organization announced on Good Morning America Tuesday.
The organization will no longer judge contestants based on physical appearance. "We are no longer a pageant," said Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America who is now the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization. "We are a competition."
Instead of the swimsuit portion, contestants will now take part in a live interactive session with the judges. They will be asked to demonstrate their passion, intelligence and an overall understanding of the job.
The organization will also get rid of the evening gown portion. Contestants will be asked to wear attire that makes them feel confident, expresses their personal style and shows how they hope to advance the role of Miss America.
"We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,’ so guess what, you don’t have to do that anymore," Carlson said. "Who doesn’t want to be empowered, learn leadership skills and pay for college and be able to show the world who you are as a person from the inside of your soul."
She continued, "That’s what we’re judging them on now."
Carlson has recently been an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual harassment and a champion of the #MeToo movement.