Miss Florida competition is no longer a beauty pageant

After being canceled last year because of the pandemic, the Lakeland Center will once again host the Miss Florida competition.

"It would be one special job if I could get that crown by the end of this week," Miss Saint Petersburg, Alana Scheuerer, told FOX 13.

The women are striking, but this is no longer what was once referred to as a beauty pageant. Contestants are now judged on their poise, intelligence, talent, and how they are trying to make the world a better place.

"I just think it is the way that society is looking at women nowadays," said Keith Williams who has headed up the competition for more than 40 years. 

There has been an evolution away from the superficial. One of the more dramatic changes came in 2018 when Miss America dropped the swimsuit component.

"We’re getting a lot more sponsors. We are getting a lot more interest from our candidates," said Williams. "I definitely think it is a positive."

The emphasis is now on the cerebral. Many of the women have college or advanced degrees.

This year, there is $85,000 in scholarship money up for grabs, with $18,000 going to the next Miss Florida. However, everyone will walk away with something.

The event is being held at the Lakeland Center. Preliminary rounds are being held on Thursday and Friday nights, with the final round on Saturday.

LINK: Visit https://www.missflorida.org/ for more information.