The Miss Teen USA pageant administration just announced that it would be retiring the swimsuit competition for its participants aged 15-19. USA Today reports the swimsuit competition will be replaced by an athletic wear competition to focus on the importance of physical fitness in young women.
Miss Teen USA is part of the the Miss Universe Organization, formerly owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Since Trump sold the Organization to talent agency WME-IMG in September 2015, the pageant has been undergoing a rebranding initiative to “celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty,” according to Miss Universe president Paula Shugart.
"This decision reflects an important cultural shift we’re all celebrating that empowers women who lead active, purposeful lives and encourage those in their communities to do the same. Our hope is that this decision will help all of Miss Teen USA's fans recognize these young women for the strong, inspiring individuals they are,” Shugart wrote.
The change has been praised by competitors, parents, and pageant sponsors.
Former Miss Virginia Nancy Redd said, “This is a great step in the right direction of women embracing their physical strength, as opposed to their appearance. This is focusing on what bodies can do, not just what they look like.”
Publication date: June 30, 2016