Miss America ditches bikinis five years after New Zealand

Long Lunch 07/06/2018
Miss America's swimsuit competition. Photo: Reuters.

Miss America contestants will no longer participate in a swimsuit portion of the competition.

The decision has been applauded as a nod to the era of female empowerment, despite the fact that New Zealand did the same thing – five years prior.

When Nigel Godfrey and Jack Yan took over Miss Universe New Zealand in 2012, they set to rebrand the pageant for the better.

Surely it is time to stop judging women on their appearance.

Mr Yan, now general counsel for the New Zealand competition, told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen that scrapping the swimsuit portion was a unanimous decision.

“It’s dated,” he said. “If you’re going to have a swimsuit competition, it should be on the beach.”

Instead, Miss Universe NZ organisers tried to make the competition modern and inclusive. Mr Yan told RadioLIVE that they have made it clear to applicants that there are no restrictions for height, weight, body type or body art.

Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, Miss New Zealand 2017.

Mr Yan said the contestants reacted well to the decision to ditch bikinis, with the number of entrants significantly increasing after 2012.

“I think they recognise that this is a modern competition for them,” he added.

Nevertheless, Mr Yan applauded the Miss America pageant for finally ditching its swimsuit competition.

“Good on them,” he said. “We are heartened they are taking the lead of New Zealand.”

While humbled by the fact that his own pageant acted sooner, Mr Yan reckoned that the US has been in “more of a flux” than New Zealand over the past few years.

“Perhaps it’s post #metoo. That they finally realise that, yes women are finally standing up, women have a right to be heard and to be counted and surely it is time to stop judging women on their appearance.”

Listen to the full interview with Jack Yan above. 

The Long Lunch with Carly Flynn, in for Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.