When Christine Williamson was chosen as Miss Tennessee 2018 in June, the former Miss Chattanooga became the seventh contestant from the Scenic City Pageants franchise to ascend to the state title.
The graduate student at the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at UT-Chattanooga departs later this month for Atlantic City and a revamped Miss America competition that will be unlike any other in the program’s 98-year history. The swimsuit competition has been eliminated and the revised evening wear category isn’t judged on physical beauty. However, the new rules won’t be the only storyline at the renamed Miss America 2.0 2019 contest will be held from Sept. 5-9.
The new Miss America Organization leaders Gretchen Carlson and Regina Hopper who succeeded former CEO Sam Haskell who resigned last year in the wake of an e-mail scandal in which he disparaged several former Miss Americas (not including 1989 winner Ms. Carlson) on their physical appearance, have caused a firestorm of their own.
Several state and local pageant officials as well as many volunteers have expressed deep concern about the lack of transparency and input from the national leaders not only on the swimsuit controversy and the changes in the judging criteria but also the perception that Ms. Carlson and Ms. Hopper are more concerned about promoting their own agendas instead of MAO’s.
Eleven former Miss Americas have posted a petition that currently has over 3,000 signatures on the Change.org website and has been heavily promoted on social media. Miss Tennessee officials have been encouraging their volunteers to sign the petition and share it with their social media contacts.
The Miss America Needs You Petition is here.
The Miss Tennessee Pageant Note is here.