The 100th anniversary of the competition that started after Labor Day in September 1921 won’t be celebrated until December 2021.
Originally called the “Atlantic City Beauty Contest,” the pageant stayed in New Jersey for more than eight decades.
Television viewership peaked during the early 1960s, when it was the highest-rated program on American TV; but in 2005 it drew a record-low 9.8 million viewers. In 2006 the pageant was moved to Las Vegas through 2013, returning to Atlantic City in 2014.
The 2019 event moved again, this time under a three-year agreement with Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino, where it was live-streamed for the first time.
The current Miss America, Camille Schrier, was born in Doylestown in 1995 and grew up in Bucks County. Crowned in 2019, she has reigned as Miss America for 2020 and 2021, because of the pandemic.
A science graduate from Virginia Tech (and currently in a doctoral program in pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University), she gave a colorful chemistry demo in the competition and has performed virtual displays from home to get kids interested in science.
For many years a bathing beauty revue, in the 21st century competitors are no longer judged on their physical appearance (no swimsuit competition), and there is a larger focus on the competitors’ talent, passion, and ambition.