The Miss Oklahoma Pageant kicked off Tuesday night at River Spirit Casino, the same day Miss America announced a major makeover.
The swimsuit competition is out and contestants will no longer be judged on their appearance.
It’s been trending online since the announcement this morning.
Three former Miss Oklahomas, who all went on to win Miss America, say it’s time for change.
Forty-five young women are vying for the Miss Oklahoma crown. Only one will go on to compete in Miss America in September.
“I think it is inevitable that it changes,” said Susan Powell, Miss America 1981.
That change is coming soon.
For the first time in nearly a century, contestants will not take the stage in a swimsuit and high heels.
“That has been such a tiny, historic element of it,” Powell said.
Bye bye bikinis and hello new philosophy.
The organization says it’s not a pageant, it’s a competition.
“Now, we’re going to move forward and America is going to get to see the real, true reason why most of the young ladies enter local pageants and dream of becoming Miss America,” stated Jennifer Berry, Miss America 2006.
A dream that started 97 years ago.
“They were really forging a path, too, in 1921 – to put on a swimsuit, a long swimsuit, and appear on camera, on a beach, in front of people, in a line,” said Powell.
Former Miss Americas say that empowerment is what it’s all about.
“It’s the effort, it’s the discipline, and now going forward, for the rest of my life, I know what it means to be healthy,” said Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson.
But the bold bikini blowout could lead to more money.
“In the last seven or eight years, our sponsorship has been hard to acquire because of that one competition,” said Powell.
That competition will happen here at the Miss Oklahoma pageant – for the last time – this week.
“With the forward-thinking women of 1921, we’re just being the forward-thinking women on 2018,” stated Nelson.
All states will keep the swimsuit competition this year.
There are also changes coming to the evening gown competition, but details at this point are pretty vague.