The Miss America Pageant is getting a major remodel this year: , and the organization says it's committed to no longer evaluating women on their physical appearances. This is just one of many changes that have taken place since the competition began in 1921. Take a look back at "Miss America" through the years.
What started as a way to boost tourism in Atlantic City ultimately became the pageant that we know today. Of the 10 contestants who competed in 1921, Washington D.C. native Margaret Gorman won two titles — Inter-City Beauty and The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America. One year later, she was renamed Miss America, according to the .
Fay Lanphier remains the only person to wear She had a brief acting career after her pageant life.
Norma Smallwood was the first woman of Native American heritage to win the crown. That year, Smallwood earned more money than Babe Ruth, who set a World Series record for the Yankees, according to .
Lois Delander (Miss Illinois) won the last title before the show was cancelled for several years. She was 16 when she nabbed the crown.
The pageant was brieflyin 1928 amid push back from women’s groups and church officials, according to . But in 1933, businessmen gathered and revived the event, in the hopes that it would bring in a profit during the Great Depression. Despite all of the hubbub involved, 15-year-old Marion Bergeron took home the title.
With more events and contestants (46 total), the pageant was finally able to pay off its debt the year Rose Veronica Coyle was crowned. This also marked the first year interviews were part of the competition, according to .
This was the year the organization changed its name from to The Miss America Pageant. And while she was runner-up the year prior, Rosemary LaPlanche ultimately secured the title. She kicked off her year as Miss America traveling with the U.S.O. and selling war bonds, according to .
Miss America 1945, Bess Myerson, was the first and only Jewish woman to win the title, according to . She used her platform to speak out against discrimination by teaming up with the Anti-Defamation League. She applied her pageant scholarship money to graduate studies at Juilliard and Columbia University.
The organization divided its new scholarship fund among Miss America Marilyn Buferd and the 15 finalists. They also decided the term “bathing suit” was out, and the more concise “swimsuit” was in, according to .
Jacque Mercer (Miss Arizona) won the title in 1949. She got married and divorced during her reign, .
According to , Yolande Betbeze was a trailblazer for the competition after refusing to pose wearing a swimsuit. Despite not following tradition, she won in 1950, but was the first Miss America to be "postdated" and therefore had the title for 1951.
In 1955, beloved hostkicked off his 24-year run with the Miss America pageant, according to the . The show aired on television for the second year, and Colorado’s Sharon Kay Ritchie took the crown.
Fifteen hundred women were invited to compete in Atlantic City for the Cinderella-themed Fortieth Royal Reunion Pageant in September 1960. In the end, a whopping 85 million viewers tuned in to watch Nancy Fleming take the crown, according to .
The judges panel was star-studded, with Oscar winner Joan Crawford joining the group, according to . Deborah Bryant was the first Kansas resident to claim the title.
Judith Ford (Miss Illinois) was a world-class trampolinist, who . She was even a member of her college's men's trampoline team.
Although Phyllis George (pictured) was named Miss America that year, it was Cheryl Adrienne Browne, who was most notable as the show's first African-American contestant, according .
Five years later, Delaware’s Day Deborah Rica Lipford (now known as Dr. Day Gardner) made history as the first African-American contestant to reach the top 10. Ultimately, Dorothy Benham of Minnesota won.
Actor Ron Ely was named the new host after Bert Parks was ousted in 1980, according to . That year, Miss Oklahoma Susan Powell was named pageant queen.
Before heading to Wisteria Lane, Vanessa Williams donned the crown as the first African-American woman to win the title. But upon learning , she was unfairly forced to resign by the Miss America Organization just two months from her one year mark. As a result, runner-up Suzette Charles became the second African-American woman to earn the title.
Susan Akin won this year, which was the last time contestants’ bust, waist, and hip measurements were featured in the program. At the time, critics wanted the pageant to eliminate the swimsuit portion as well, but the organization only to remove the sizing information.
Long before her news career, . She is currently on the board for the Miss America organization. However, resign from the board after she allegedly bullied multiple contestants.
Regis Philbin and Kathy Lee Gifford took the place of Gary Collins and Phyllis George to co-emcee the event, according to the . Winner Carolyn Suzanne Sapp was the first-ever contestant from Hawaii to become Miss America.
Heather Whitestone became the first deaf woman to be crowned Miss America after losing her hearing at 18 months old. Since the competition, she continues to be an advocate for the deaf community and other people with disabilities.
Shawntel Smith celebrated her 24th birthday with a new accessory: the pageant crown, according to . The 1995 competition, which crowned her Miss America 1996, marked its 75th anniversary.
became the first Asian American to wear the crown after beating out Faith Jenkins (Miss Louisiana) and Rita Ng (Miss California.) She went on to help host the 2002 competition.
After the 9/11 terror attacks, contestants decided against postponing the show, according to , and Oregon’s Katie Marie Harman was crowned.
Ericka Dunlap was prior to entering the Miss America competition. She won Miss America over runners-up Kanoelani Gibson (Miss Hawaii) and Tina Sauerhammer (Miss Wisconsin.) Dunlap and her husband went on to compete on the 15th season of The Amazing Race.
With an end to the post-dating, two more changes to the pageant happened in 2006: the time (January) and place (Las Vegas), according to the . Jennifer Berry took the crown, and after reviving yet another tradition, Malika Dudley became the first Miss Congeniality in more than 30 years.
Nebraska earned its first title when Teresa Scanlan won the crown. Just 17 years old, she was the youngest Miss America since Bette Cooper earned the title in 1937, according to .
Nina Davuluri , helping her ultimately secure the crown and become the first Indian American to win. She said of her win, "I really wanted to help effect a change in beauty standards .... Miss America's branding is so associated with the girl next door, which has always meant blonde hair and blue eyes with only a few exceptions, but the girl next door must evolve as the country evolves. When I was younger I wanted to fit in, but I was aware growing up that I didn't fit that mould, and I really wanted to help make a change that meant young girls wouldn't feel like that."