While the Miss USA pageant has traditionally been for beauty contest veterans, the Miss Universe Organization recently made an announcement that may change the event altogether.
According to Us Weekly, the organization announced on Wednesday, April 20 that it is setting out on a nationwide search for a 52nd candidate that is not from the pageant world to compete in the contest.
A press release detailed the initiative, called #FindingMiss52, explaining that the search seeks to identify one women to compete with the 51 contestants from the states and District of Columbia in the traditional pageant for the title of Miss USA.
“Applications are being accepted now for review by an expert judging panel who will ultimately select the top 10 #FindingMiss52 finalists based on originality/creativity, personality and a web interview,” the press release said according to Us Weekly. “The public will then have a chance to vote on the top 10 and the winner will be sent to compete alongside the other 51 contestants.”
But opening up the pageant to non-veterans isn’t just to discover an unknown beauty, according to President of the Miss Universe Organization Paula M. Shugart.
“Miss USA is someone who is strong, determined and confident,” she said. “Our competitions celebrate women from all backgrounds and with Finding Miss 52, we hope to inspire more women to step out of their comfort zones and experience the amazing opportunities our organization offers.”
Us Weekly says that to enter the search for Miss 52, candidates are to post three photos or videos to Instagram or Twitter accompanied by the hashtag #FindingMiss52.