Local pageant contestants weigh in on national decision to remove swimsuit category

Source: WGCL

Since it's inception, nearly 100 years ago, the swimsuit category has been an essential part of the Miss America pageant.

But on Tuesday, it got the ax.

As culture changes, so does the Miss America Pageant and I think that's what this shift is moving towards," said one contestant.

Moving forward, contestants will no longer be judged on physical appearance. The decision is drawing mixed reaction.

"I won a lot of scholarship money from winning swimsuit preliminary awards and winning the overall lifestyle and fitness award in the Miss Georgia Pageant," said Patricia Ford.

Patricia Ford won the 2016 Miss Georgia Pageant before going on to compete at Miss America where she did have to model a swimsuit. While she admits she's a little sad to see the swimsuit competition go, she welcomes the new changes.

"It's opening up the competition for more girls to be involved to make it more inclusive so that more women do have the opportunity to win those scholarships and not be sidelined just based on their physical appearance," said Alexa Gilomen.

Alexa Gilomen will compete in the Miss Georgia Pageant in less than two weeks.

"We really love getting on stage and having our Victoria's Secret Angel moment but at the time same, I understand," said Gilomen.

Though she's been working hard to tone her body, she doesn't think what's on the outside should matter so much.

"I think it's absolutely a step in the right direction. Miss America is a communicator. She's an advocate. She's a role model for young girls and at the end of the day - she should be judged on her heart," said Gilomen.

Not only is the Miss America organization ditching the swimsuits, CBS46 learned girls will no longer be judged on their choice of evening wear. The changes will start with this year's pageant in September.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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