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Gretchen Carlson discusses changes at Miss America Organization

After nearly a century, the Miss America organization announced on Tuesday candidates will no longer be judged on their outward physical appearance. This change will be reflected in this year's competition, scheduled for September 9 on ABC.

Gretchen Carlson, the organization's chairwoman and former Fox News host, made the announcement on Good Morning America.

The change in format eliminates the swimsuit portion of the competition.

Instead, candidates will speak with the judges about her achievements and goals in life as well as how she will use her particular talents, passion and ambition to perform the job of Miss America, according to Carlson.

"We won't be judging on what they're wearing, we'll be judging on what they say. And during that particular part of the competition, they'll be talking about their social impact initiatives. And so, the competition is really shifting away from physical appearance and more about the substance of the individual," Carlson said.

How will this change help empower young women, not only those in the competition, but young girls who look up to the participants?

"One of our other goals as we move forward in this process is to include inspiring other young people who may not want to walk on the stage. So plans for that are going to be forthcoming. But in the meantime, I think this opens up the process for so many more young women to want to actually be on our stage and partake in our program. Because we are going to be celebrating the substance, and the goals, and the achievements, and the leadership skills of young women in an open and transparent and more inclusive process now. You don't have to be a perfect 10," Carlson said.

Carlson not only knows the organization inside and out, she has been part of the Me Too movement by speaking out against sexual harassment at Fox News. Have those experiences helped her steer Miss America into this new era?

"Life works in mysterious ways, and I never envisioned myself to be a poster child for sexual harassment in the workplace, but that's the way that it worked out. I'm so glad that I've inspired thousands of other women to know that their voice matters as well. And the same could be said for this. I never envisioned myself to be the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization. But there was a call to do this job on a volunteer basis, and I decided to go for it and do the best that I possibly could," Carlson said.

The organization has recently undergone a change in leadership. Now the top three positions within the organization are all held by women.

"I'm honored that we have all female leadership now in this organization, and we have a board that is made up of stakeholders in this organization. And so these are the tough decisions that we have made. And there will be more to come," Carlson said.

The 2019 Miss America competition airs on ABC 57 Sunday, September 9th at 9 p.m.

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