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Miss Wisconsin 2014

Miss Wisconsin Raeanna Johnson at the conclusion of the 2014 pageant in Oshkosh.

This year’s 2018 Miss Wisconsin Pageant will be the last to host a swimsuit competition.

The statewide competition announced the change after its parent organization, Miss America Competition announced on June 5 that it will be retiring the swimsuits portion.

“We won’t be judging the outer appearance of young women but redefining beauty,” Miss Wisconsin spokesman Ryan Guy said. “We are going to be looking at what’s inside.”

The change won’t happen in time for this year’s Miss Wisconsin competition, which gets underway Wednesday, because the original announcement by the Miss America organization came out just a week ago.

“It was too close to our pageant to make the change,” Guy said.

However, the national competition in September acts as a deadline for the Miss Wisconsin competition to follow suit. The organization has also taken the initiative to include other changes such as referring to competitors as “participants” instead of “contestants,” Guy said.

“We don’t see this so much as revolutionary but as an evolutionary step,” Miss Wisconsin 1985 and spokeswoman Mary Gronik said, noting that a key component to the change is the “desire to make the program inclusive of all women.”

Now with a shift in focus, the program hopes to attract a diverse group of women who otherwise may not have competed in the past, Gronik said.

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“We are no longer a pageant,” Miss America Board Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson said in a statement. “Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent, and empowerment.”

In lieu of the swimsuit competition, participants in the National Miss America competition will be asked to engage in a “live interaction session” where they can share personal achievements, passions and goals with the judges.

The preliminary Miss Wisconsin competition starts Wednesday.

For more about the competition, go to: go.madison.com/misswisconsin

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