Yes, yes, it did. When Miss Singapore organisers, ERM Singapore Marketing, approached us to sponsor the event, we had our reservations. Watching women parade their ‘beauty’ across a stage seems outdated. We have seen pageants on the TV and while there seems to be an attempt to focus on “what’s inside” and charitable purposes - at the end of the day, it’s still called a “beauty pageant”.
But a beauty pageant with activewear?? WTF?! With society’s focus shifting from thinness to wellness, the pageant industry is getting on board. ERM explained that the pageant was more focused on the importance of physical fitness, health and wellness in young women. The shift is meant to celebrate women’s strength, confidence and beauty in a modern context.
The Miss Teen USA pageant just proved how much American values are shifting. It was announced in June 2016 that the Miss Teen USA event was making an “important cultural shift” and that entrants would be judged not in their swimwear, but in a brand-new activewear section. The move is consistent with the overall rebranding of the Miss Universe Organization, which has shifted under WME-IMG, the talent agency that purchased it from former owner Donald Trump in September 2015.
Miss Singapore organisers were already ahead when this announcement was made, having approached and secured BASE Athletica as its official activewear sponsor. By then the girls had been fitted with outfits and were taking guidance from nutritionists and trainers at a local gym. The pageant organiser’s vision was for the girls to show their athletic side and understand how important it is to take care of your body — what a refreshing message!
Notably for us, it shows that activewear may very well be the new swimwear: it might be more attractive to show off one’s health by exercising and taking action. While the goal is to achieve health, the activewear showcase at Miss Singapore was a fabulous and modern direction. From the point of view that supports contemporary women’s values: strength, power, and wellness, we can see it as a celebration of being a woman – a strong, healthy and intelligent woman who is confident to express her views and openly help others.
Now that's what we like to see!
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE FINALISTS! It was a super fun night!