Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Hey all you caffeine-addicted queens! If you know me, you know I'm a Miss America fan to my core. I got involved in the Miss America program when I was around 14 years old and have been in love with it ever since. I've competed, volunteered at local pageants, and even helped some of my friends with guidance before their competitions. The Miss America community is one of the most supportive, motivating homes I have ever found.
But, that's not to say there hasn't been some drama.
If you follow Miss America, you might know that the past few years haven't been our best. You see, it started right around when Sam Haskell, the former CEO's, email's were leaked... emails which compared former winners to blimps in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And that wasn't even the half of it. So Sam was out and Gretchen was in. You might remember Gretchen Carlson from her time on Fox and her passionate women's rights advocacy and support of the #MeToo movement. (She claims to have started the #MeToo, but we can discuss the legitimacy of that another time). Gretchen brought in sweeping changes to Miss America including the elimination of the swimsuit portion of competition and the creation of the Miss America 2.0 brand.
Miss America 2.0 prides itself on giving women more opportunities to talk and demonstrate their intelligence through phases of competition like mini-Ted Talks, on-stage interviews, and Social Impact Initiative Statements. They also eliminated the evening gown portion of competition... and then brought it back again. Other recent changes include Miss America being dropped by ABC, picked up by NBC, leaving Atlantic City, finding a new home in Mohegan Sun, and ditching the September competition date for a festive December 19th competition.
Now with any 100 year old organization, changes always cause waves. Miss America fans have been divided on their support of the elimination of the swimsuit competition, frustrated by the lack of national communication with state and local competitions, and upset by the new competition format which included giving contestants live critiques of contestants on stage. Most people love getting to hear more about the girls community service endeavors though and there is wide support for the mini-Ted talks which give girls a minute and a half to talk about the social issue they have and will champion throughout their year of service.
Needless to say, Miss America fans have been put through the ringer when it comes to continuous changes. So, we weren't exactly shocked to hear that changes would be coming following the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent press release (see here: https://www.missamerica.org/miss-america-postpones-annual-broadcast-and-competitions-to-2021/) Miss America announced it would be postponing it's annual competition, and 100th anniversary competition, for 1 full year.
So, what does this mean exactly? Well, it means Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier will hold her title for two full years, as will all other 51 state titleholders. Local titleholders who have been preparing to compete for their state titles to hopefully win the opportunity to compete at Miss America will also hold their local titles for two years and compete for their state title next summer. Since most state titleholders put their lives on hold for the year that they hold their titles, they will be given more flexibility during this additional year of service. Many will be returning to school or work full time -- potentially out of state. So you might not see your Miss Whoever as frequently.
This also means there may be less (if any) competitions next year. For example, if your state has already had all of it's local competitions for the year then there will be no additional opportunities to compete next year for the state title. If your state had one or two local competitions that were postponed for COVID-19, they will be the only opportunities to compete. But don't fret too much! Miss America will be raising the age limit to 26 for one year, in case girls who were aging out do not get the opportunity to compete next year.
I have to admit, I had a bit of a panic attack when I heard this news! Next year was to be my last year of eligibility in the Miss America program and was to be my final attempt at competing in this amazing program. Needless to say, I've been waiting and preparing for this year for a long time! The thought of losing that opportunity was really scary. Tears were definitely shed. After a couple deep breaths though, I reminded myself that everything happens for a reason and God has a plan for me, and it turns out there are still three local competitions being held in my state in 2021! So, all hope is not lost! Please excuse me while I start prepping for what are sure to be some pretty competitive local competitions!
Us pageant girls are used to thinking on our feet! After all, when you have 20 seconds to answer a surprise question about how the US government should respond to threats from ISIS your get pretty good at quick thinking. There is not a better group of girls in the world to manage these many changes and come through the other side stronger. I can't wait to get the chance to hopefully join this sisterhood once more.
What are your thoughts on the recent changes to MAO and the postponement of the 2020 competition? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time...