ZIONSVILLE, Ind.-- This weekend, a new Miss Indiana will be crowned and despite changes announced last week to remove the swimsuit contest from judging, contestants will face a panel of judges in their swimwear.
“I’m more than just a swimsuit, I’m more than just an evening gown. This is about making a difference in your community,” said Miss Heart of Indiana Kirsten Davenport.
Davenport is one of the dozens of young women vying for the title this week as they showcase their beauty, brains and talent. The competition is this week from June 13-16 at Zionsville High School.
“The job of Miss Indiana and Miss America is to empower people and motivate people and to be an advocate for something bigger than yourself. You cannot do that in a swimsuit,” said Davenport.
This past week, the Miss American organization decided to drop the swimsuit competition starting next year. The women are no longer judged just on their physical appearance.
“It is a mixed reaction,” said Miss Indiana Executive Director Aren Straiger.
Straiger says Miss Indiana is ready for the change but the show will go on with the swimsuit portion this week because other states have already crowned their title holder on these criteria.
“There women are not comfortable on stage in a swimsuit and if that opens up our demographic then we are more than happy to welcome those ladies in our system,” said Straiger.
Miss Capital City Caroline McKinney says she would have joined earlier if they did not have the swimsuit portion.
“I consider myself but I’m definitely not a size two. Last year, I was the only women to wear a one piece on the stage,” said McKinney.
Haley Begay, who was crowned Miss Indiana in 2017, sees the swimsuit competition as empowering but says she saw the change coming.
“I was bummed by it but then I’m excited to see where our organizations goes. Change is always a good thing,” said McKinney.
At this point, Miss Indiana says they have not yet been told what will replace the swimsuit portion, but will find out more when they meet in July.