Our own Steve Velte was invited to and agreed to attend the Miss America 2.0 Competition. Here is the story:
As the proud father of two teenage daughters, I received a lesson, again, about how much things have changed in gender dynamics and the things that young women feel are important to them. Our discussion revolved around whether a man, husband, or boyfriend should hold the door for a lady. Apparently, I may be a bit out of touch. It’s not what I view as appropriate that is important it’s what the current and next generation of women feel is important.
Now another bastion of the last century, the Miss America Pageant, has recently gone through quite a few big changes. The competition is now dubbed “Miss America 2.0” and is no longer referred to by organizers as a “pageant” but rather a competition. Contestants are now “candidates.” Miss America 2020 was crowned the evening of December 19th for the first time at a Connecticut casino, marking the latest change to the nearly century-old contest and for the second year in a row, there were no swimsuit or evening gown competitions, with organizers stressing that participants are not judged on outward physical appearance. Those events were replaced by onstage interviews and opportunities for the women to discuss their personal achievements, life goals, talents, and a planned “social impact initiative” as the 2020 Miss America. Miss America 2.0 was broadcast on NBC to an estimated 4.5 million viewer,s and for the first time, preliminary events and the finale were streamed live on the NBC app. Global Toy News was there to take a hard look at the “new and empowered” competition.
With new initiatives taken into consideration, Miss America 2.0 embraces the changing face of not only the competition but the aspirations of today’s young women. With no disrespect to previous contestants in prior years, these “candidates” and Miss America 2.0 put the biggest spotlight on intelligence and personal achievements.
Miss Virginia Camille Schrier was this year’s winner of the 2020 Miss America crown. She personifies the changes within the Miss America 2.0 competition and Schrier’s social impact initiative was and is Mind Your Meds: Drug Safety & Abuse Prevention From Pediatrics to Geriatrics. In a Miss America first, Schrier also performed a science demonstration for her talent. She posted on Instagram that her win in the preliminary talent competition is a win “for the little girls who want to be scientists, and for every woman who thinks they can’t compete in Miss America because they don’t have a ‘talent.’ We all have talents. Find your passion and do it on purpose. When you are unapologetically yourself, great things will come.” Ms. Schrier has undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Systems Biology from Virginia Tech and is pursuing post-graduate studies at VCU. Now that is inspirational for anyone regardless of gender.
Ms. Schrier wasn’t alone, as many candidates offered impressive visions for social impact initiatives and boasted a variety of technical studies on their resumes. In the “Toy Industry,” understanding and embracing these changing cultural dynamics can be empowering for all sides and helping future Miss America 2.0’s find their passion at an early age should be an industry-wide goal. Miss America 2.0’s new mission statement is “To prepare great women for the world and to prepare the world for great women.” You certainly don’t need a swimsuit for that.