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Wednesday
Sep052018

Miss America pageant begins for the first time sans swimsuit competition

Donald Kravitz/Getty Images(ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.) -- Two of the most iconic and controversial traditions will be missing when the preliminary competition for the Miss America pageant begins on Wednesday night: The swimsuit and evening gown competitions.

No longer will pageant hopefuls from all over the country be judged by their appearance -- whether in skin-baring bikinis or form-fitting evening wear, the organization announced in June.

Instead, the contestants will take part in a live interactive session with the judges, where they will be judged on their passion, intelligence and overall understanding of the job, the organization said.

Cara Mund, who was crowned last year while competing as Miss North Dakota, will be the last Miss America to have participated in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions.

The Miss America organization has been facing turmoil in recent months.

In December, former CEO Sam Haskell resigned after emails in which he insulted the appearance, intellect and personal lives of former pageant winners were leaked.

Mund, 24, also accused Miss America leadership of silencing and bullying her after she was crowned.

"Our chair and CEO have systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis," Mund wrote last month in a letter to past winners.

Gretchen Carlson, the first former Miss America to be named chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization, responded to Mund on Twitter, saying that she has "never" bullied or silenced her and will "continue to support her."

The finals of the 2019 Miss America Competition airs live Sunday on ABC at 9 p.m. ET. "Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba will host the pageant.

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Miss America pageant begins for the first time sans swimsuit competition







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