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"You can say it's about scholarship money, but it's also about this ideal about what the ideal American young woman is," Nicolosi says.
Even as Miss America became more diverse over the latter half of its 96 years -- in 1940, the pageant dropped a rule that held contestants must be white, though decades would pass before the first black contestant -- a physical rubric has always been part of the equation.
For Cantrell, handing over the title meant she could at long last share her secret. " she captioned a photo that showed off her new diamond and future husband.
"It's almost the ultimate expression of the Madonna-whore complex." That's an association with some history.In 2015, the pageant held its own in the ratings as Miss America's CEO issued an onstage apology to Vanessa Williams, who had been asked to resign as Miss America in 1984 after Penthouse published her nude photos.(The next year, the pageant was losing its audience once again.) But the big Miss America scandal of 1999 had nothing to do with nude photos.For several weeks after she got engaged in August of 2016, Cantrell would wear her ring in the privacy of her hotel room -- another place Maxwell was not welcome -- and take it off for public appearances.Chelsea Mineur, a spokeswoman for the Atlantic City-based Miss America Organization, says that there are no official rules regarding Miss America's relationship with a boyfriend or her dating life, but that "engagements should be announced after her reign." Already engaged women, however, need not apply.