Below is the actual job description the Miss America contestants (er candidates) were given prior to the September competition. A competition that was to shift towards a more talent-based competition with the preliminary talent score worth a whopping 50%! Interestingly, but not surprisingly, talent is only referred to in one short sentence in the Miss America job description and historically has been a distant memory for each year's new Miss America. Read it for yourself...
"Miss America’s job:Miss America is the most visible external facing representative of the mission of the Miss America Organization (“MAO”) program to the public. As a member of the MAO team, she is responsible for positively advancing the goals and objectives of MAO as well as her own social impact initiative.
Miss America is full-time, paid contractual employee of MAO. The job is an exciting, fun, challenging “Year of Service” that requires energy, positivity, professionalism and courtesy while engaging in extensive travel, often logging 20,000 miles a month and at times changing locations every 18-24 hours, throughout the United States and, at times, to other countries. Reporting to the President & CEO of MAO, and working with the MAO staff that schedules and provides logistical, support and guidance, she uses her term to promote and market the program to her peers and the next generation of young women.
Miss America will work with the MAO team to develop goals and execute on tactics to advance her chosen Social Impact Initiative, setting metrics and developing partnerships which will show positive results at the end of her year. In addition, she also serves as the National Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; raising funds and awareness for families who otherwise would not be able to afford quality medical care in urgent circumstances.
As such, public speaking is an essential role of Miss America. She researches and prepares speeches to deliver to audiences of all sizes. She often speaks with the media, and is a representative of MAO with sponsors and partners, students and corporate executives. She must be thoughtful in both prepared and extemporaneous remarks. She also must be proficient both visually and in writing with social and digital media to tell the Miss America story. Miss America may be expected to perform her talent in a variety of venues whether planned for an event or in the spur of the moment.
Miss America is a chief marketer, with direct responsibilities toward sponsors and partners as defined by MAO. It is her responsibility to be both approachable and appreciative for support as well as assisting in creating relationships that benefit both the sponsors and MAO.
A first step to continuing her education and career, the job of Miss America is a once in a lifetime experience that carries with it service above self."
Having noted the new 50% prelim talent weight and heard comments from MAO officials regarding the importance of classical talents, we saw TWO monologues reach the Top 15 at Miss America 2019. Was this perhaps the judges way of defying the emphasis on talent and rather pulling forward individuals that could also command the stage with their speaking ability? No one will ever really know. However, we thought it was telling that the preliminary judges appreciated the non-traditional talents as well as the traditional or classical talents. What's your take?