Miss Teen USA announced today that it would be eliminating the iconic swimsuit competition from the beauty pageant going forward and replace it with an athletic wear competition. A past winner of the competition says she hates this decision.
Kamie Crawford, who won Miss Teen USA in 2010 while representing Maryland, spoke to INSIDER over the phone to explain why she thinks the change is a bad one.
“It’s a part of tradition,” she said.
After acknowledging that, yes, some competitors are as young as 14, Crawford said that ditching the event gives it a sexual stigma that isn’t really there.
“Removing it is sending a message that something is wrong with it, and there’s nothing wrong with it,” the 23-year-old said.
Crawford, who stars in the BET series “F in Fabulous,” said that the swimsuit competition is the best way for contestants to display their fitness. “We’re proud of our bodies and getting to that point,” she said. “I was in the best shape of my life.”
An athletic wear competition will replace the swimsuit portion, but so far Miss Teen USA has been intentionally vague about what, exactly, athletic wear entails. Crawford says the change misses the point.
“It’s a sport, but you don’t have to be in active wear to participate,” she said, adding that a fit physique “can’t be seen in a full sweatsuit.”
Crawford, who self-describes as “a very outspoken Miss Teen USA,” said she supports the organisation and it’s attempt to modernise, but thinks this choice is misguided. She said she’s been receiving texts from other past winners and contestants.
Katherine Haik, the reigning Miss Teen USA, released a statement supporting the change, according to “USA Today.”
“I have been an athlete my entire life. As a member of a softball team and a competitive dance team, I spend a lot of time in athletic wear,” she said. “This new direction for Miss Teen USA is a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.