Meet the 2019 Miss America Contestants
ATLANTIC CITY — An annual tradition is making its return to the Atlantic City boardwalk this week as representatives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia come to vie for the title of Miss America.
With the elimination of the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the competition the organization is calling this year Miss America 2.0.
"Starting this year, candidates will no longer be judged on outward appearance," the competition's website said. "The choice of wardrobe is now open so everyone can express their own individual style."
Each of the 51 "candidates" has a "social Impact Initiative," which is the platform on which they are basing their candidacy. Some of the most common initiatives include STEM, various medical conditions and supporting victims of domestic violence.
New Jersey is represented by Gloucester County resident Jaime Gialloreto. The Loyola University Maryland student has been involved in Miss New Jersey and Miss America since she was 15. Her platform is "Don't get Nutty: Food Allergy Awareness: As part of her platform she teaches the three A's: Awareness, Avoidance and Action." Gialloreto's interest in food allergies comes as a result of her younger brother's "multiple life threatening food allergies."
This year's hosts are Carrie Ann Inaba from ABC's Dancing with the Stars and TV personality Ross Matthews. Judges include boxer Laila Ali, American Idol's Randy Jackson and journalist Soledad O'Brien.
The change in format is not the only controversial part of this year's competition. Gretchen Carlson, the new chairwoman of the organization has been accused of bullying current titleholder Cara Mund. Carlson has denied any accusations of bullying Mund or anyone else in the organization. Carlson won Miss America in 1989.
The preliminary competitions start on Wednesday at Boardwalk Hall and run through Friday. The annual Show Us Your Shoes Parade is scheduled for Saturday night on the boardwalk. The Miss America Competition is set to air on ABC on Sunday night starting at 9 p.m.