Idol Chatter

Natalia-Terrero-is-Miss-New-York-Teen-USA-2016Starting at this year’s Miss Teen USA pageant being held on July 30th, contestants will no longer be competing in a swimwear competition. Instead, the 14 to 18-year-old contestants will model athletic wear before the judges.  Fans are cheering after pageant officials announced the change on Tuesday.

The change was brought on a new commitment to “evolve in ways that celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty for years to come,” Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart wrote in a letter to the pageant’s state directors.

“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,” she continued. “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.”

Activists for woman are also cheering on the change.

“The Body Positive is happy to learn that Miss Teen USA is replacing their swimsuit competition with girls modeling activewear,” Connie Sobczak, the co-founder and executive director of the organization The Body Positive, said. “This is a step forward in honoring girls as strong and capable rather than simply as objects at which to stare.”

Miss Teen America, another major pageant for teenage girls, already has its contestants compete in activewear instead of swimwear. Similarly, in 2014 Miss World cut its bikini portion in favor of a beachwear show. But Miss USA and Miss America still famously feature a swimwear portion of the competition. There are no plans to remove the swimsuit portion anytime in the near future.

Miss USA host and creative producer Julianne Hough previously admitted to USA Today that “there’s definitely some work I think still to be done … in the next few years we may grow from that, but let’s see where this year goes.”

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