Upstate queens react to recent changes in the Miss America Organ - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate queens react to recent changes in the Miss America Organization

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

South Carolina is the largest competition in the Miss America Organization. After the recent changes announced by chairwoman, Gretchen Carlson, we wanted to hear how local current and previous pageant title holders are responding to the changes.

The organization announced on Tuesday they are stripping the title of "pageant", eliminating the swimsuit and evening wear competitions, and will no longer be judging contestants on their physical appearance.

Many competitors understand that the pageant was never soley based on appearances to begin with, but the new changes have been viewed as a double edged sword.

For some it's been a welcoming change, now allowing for inner beauty and brains to truly shine.

However, others worry the changes could take out the spirit of the competition.

Alyx Farkas, the current Miss Greater Easley quoted Carlson saying, "She said this is no longer a pageant. This is a competition, and now is the time for Miss America, the hash tag #byebyebikini, well hello Miss America 2.0. Now is the time for change."

She continues saying, "We no longer are being judged by looks. We are being judged on our intellectual abilities, on our scholarship, on our service."

The decision has left many long time competitors torn.

Anna Catherine English competed in Miss South Carolina for 4 years, and is one glad to see the suits go saying, ""I'm so jealous as crazy as that sounds. I knew that was my weak area, and I was always told you would make a great Miss SC or even better Miss America if you could just lose those last 10-15 pounds"

For others, that moment on stage wearing the suit was a moment of confidence and showing off hard work.

Lara Scott Coscarella, who has competed for Miss South Carolina for several years took to Facebook saying, "I have no words. It (the swimsuit competition) made me a better woman. I saw myself grow, I was inspired by my friends all doing the same thing and reaching for the goal."

Now, an onstage interview portion will replace swimsuit, focusing more on the women's goals and abilities.

"It's so important that individuals, viewers, and the girls themselves realize that this is a competition about passion and service and scholarships that are presented through this organization", Farkas states.

The evening gown competition is also getting a makeover, transforming into outfit of choice, which many of the women say they support.

"People just embodying their style- what they're comfortable in and what they think is fashionable", English explains.

Overall, they all agree on one thing, "The girls competing for Miss South Carolina are not just girls who get up on stage in swimsuits and heels or an evening gown", Farkas tells us.

This year they are expecting that to shine through, not only the state, but all over the country.

English tells us, "We're going to see these women who are incredible smart and ready to take a job tomorrow as Miss America and we are going to have 52 of them which I think is awesome."

These new changes really all came into effect after the organization adapted new leadership.

The entire board of directors for the Miss America Organization is now led by women. They say they made these changes to really embrace women in today's society, and they are excited to see where the new changes lead them.

These new changes will not be affecting any upcoming local or state pageants, but they will be in effect for the National competition in September.

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