A big change is coming to the Miss America Pageant. The organization has decided to drop the swimsuit competition.
We spoke with three former beauty pageant contestants who said they weren't surprised by the decision.
The Miss America board of trustees says ditching the swimsuit competition was necessary to move the pageant into the 21st century where women are a part of the cultural revolution. One local former Miss Illinois said she has mixed emotions, while another called the swimsuit competition part of the pageant's history.
"This whole pageant is about being empowered. It's about being physically fit, it's about being healthy. It's about doing things with social change, all of that. we're at a point in our society right now where in order to do that we have to take away a piece of the competition that's been there for so long," said former Miss Illinois USA Renee Charles.
"Actually the Miss America Pageant started out as a swimsuit competition. So for me it feels like they're taking a part of that history away from the pageant," said former pageant contestant Kristy Whitman.
Another former pageant contestant said the move could have lasting effects down the road.
"We have to think about how the market will react to that decision. If you think about if the Miss America organization and their organizations that publicly broadcast have to bring in advertisements and ads are triggered by viewership. So it'll be interesting to watch if the viewership rises or declines," said former pageant contestant Marcela Gillen.