Is New Miss America Exposé Throwing Shade at Atlantic City, NJ?
A new TV series called Secrets of Miss America looks full of insider stories about the most well-known pageant ever created. But they're not all happy stories. With that being said, will it paint the competition's hometown Atlantic City in a negative light?
The Miss America pageant was founded in Atlantic City in 1921. Miss America winners were crowned in A.C. until 2004 when it moved to various other locations such as Connecticut, Louisiana, and Nevada. It came back to Atlantic City in 2013 where it remained for five years before once again moving on.
While Miss America may have left Atlantic City on and off over the years, most people link the two together. Atlantic City was and always will be the one true home of the competition.
Yes, Miss America provided fame to its contestants and title holders and awarded thousands of scholarships, but the organization has not been without controversy.
The last Miss America ever crowned in Atlantic City was Miss North Dakota Cara Mund in 2017. Nearly a year into her reign, Mund vented to the media about her discontent for the organization. She went on to pen an open letter to former Miss Americas to put a comment she made to The Press of AC about 2018 being 'a hard year'. In the letter she writes that Miss America's current leadership had "silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role." Mund went on to confess her "voice is not heard nor wanted by our current leadership …nor do they have any interest in knowing who I am and how my experiences relate to positioning the organization for the future".
But let's rewind to the scandal that cost Miss America 1984, Vanessa Williams, her crown. After nude photos of her were published by Playboy magazine, she was forced to resign, and New Jersey's own Suzette Charles took over.
Miss America has faced criticism for exploiting young women and its lack of inclusiveness, but I have a feeling that's only where Secrets of Miss America begins on A&E.
Pageant insiders have given interviews to A&E, exposing the pageant from its inner workings. Miss America critics and even 20 former titleholders appear in the docuseries. More interestingly, the series claims to have sat down with numerous pageant 'whistleblowers'.
The first episode called 'Dirty Tricks' focuses on shocking emails involving the entire Miss America Board of Directors that rocked the organization.
All of the above indicates Miss America and Atlantic City, where it all began, are in for a wild ride. Let's just hope the behind-the-scenes insight doesn't throw too shade at A.C.
Secrets of Miss America airs Monday nights on A&E.