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Miss Minnesota supports Carlson's pageant changes

Michaelene Karlen says pageant is moving forward

July 09, 2018 - 6:55 am

Minnesota's representative for the Miss America pageant is showing support for chairwoman Gretchen Carlson, who's under fire for eliminating both the swimsuit and evening gown segments from the program.

Carlson announced the changes on June 5. Representatives from 22 state pageants are calling for Carlson to resign, citing no confidence in her or the board of trustees. 

The Anoka native, who won the 1989 Miss America crown, became pageant chair in January. That followed the revelation of emails by the pageant's hierarchy mocking winners for their intelligence and looks, with several high-ranking officials resigning.

"I'm very excited, I think the Miss America organization is moving forward," said Miss Minnesota Michaelene Karlen of Kasson, who won the state pageant on June 16.

The list of state officials calling for Carlson's ouster does not include leadership of the Miss Minnesota pageant, although Miss Wisconsin executive director Jeanne Schmal is among those 22 state licensees.

"Each year they move forward and this year we are really moving forward in a big way," Karlen told WCCO's Roshini Rajkumar. "We're blazing a new trail. I'm a trail-blazer and a risk-taker, so I'm excited for this new way, new era that the Miss America organization is embarking on."

A letter signed by 30 former Miss America winners also shows support for Carlson.

Since the changes were made last month, four members of the Miss America board either resigned or were forced out.

Karlen appears in the pageant on September 9th in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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