[Ed. – Presumably it hasn’t occurred to them that they could just do with the competition altogether.]
One of America’s highest-profile beauty pageants just traded bikinis for athleisure.
In recent years, competitions have increasingly modernized, featuring women that break the mold of the traditional pageant queen — like Miss Missouri Erin O’Flaherty, who will compete as Miss America’s first openly gay contestant this year, and Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber, the Army officer crowned 2016’s Miss USA. But still, the much-maligned swimsuit competition remains a staple of the major pageants.
That’s no longer the case for Miss Teen USA, after the Miss Universe organization announced that the pageant is going swimsuit-free. Instead, the 51 women (from the 50 states plus D.C.) will be judged in a brand-new athletic wear competition.
Pageant organizers have long said swimsuit portions were intended to show off the athleticism of the competitors. But Miss Teen USA’s transition to athletic wear reads as less exploitative and more focused on the importance of physical fitness for its younger participants, aged 15-19.
“I have been an athlete my entire life. As a member of a softball team and a competitive dance team, I spend a lot of time in athletic wear,” says Katherine Haik, the reigning Miss Teen USA.