The 22 women competing to be “Miss Iowa 2018″ next week will still be evaluated for their appearances in swimsuits and evening gowns. Changes announced this week to the Miss America competition — like the end of the swimsuit competition — will be in place for the next round of state and local pageants.
“Swimsuit going away is a big change and I think there are a lot of mixed feelings out there,” Miss Iowa Competition Board president Racheal Vopatek said Thursday. “We’re all still processing it.”
Miss Iowa 2017 Chelsea Dubczak of Urbandale said change was needed because the swimsuit competition tended to focus on the “physique” of the women, but Dubczak disagrees with eliminating it altogether.
“There should still be some component that takes into consideration the lifestyle and the fitness of the title holder so that she can be a positive role model and a good representative in all facets of life,” Dubczak said.
The Miss America organization emphasizes it is a scholarship competition, not a beauty pageant. Dubczak said evaluating how well contestants speak and how well educated they are is important, but she said with obesity and chronic diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle on the rise, physical fitness is important, too.
“Day in and day out, how do you take care of yourself? How do you show people to respect people and admire your body, not just by how it looks, but by how well it functions?” she said.
For the past year, Dubczak has promoted a “Ladies Who Lift” platform, emphasizing weight lifting and other activities that focus on what a woman’s body is capable of doing rather than what it looks like.
The opening round of competition among the women vying to be Miss Iowa 2018 starts next Thursday. A winner will be crowned on Saturday, the 16th.
(Reporting by Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton)