Great Britain

Biochemist crowned Miss America 2020 minutes after on-stage experiment

Camille Schrier was crowned Miss America 2020 after conducting this on-stage experiment
Camille Schrier was crowned Miss America 2020 after conducting this on-stage experiment

Organisers wanted to make it clear the 99th Miss America competition isn't your grandmother's beauty pageant, and their winner did just that.

Virginia biochemist Camille Schrier won the crown just minutes after wowing the crowd with science.

Camille Schrier was crowned Miss America 2020

Camille Schrier was crowned Miss America 2020

Dressed in a lab coat, she gave a colourful chemistry demonstration of the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide.

READ MORE: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s bromance blossoms – leader comment
Ms Schrier, a native of Pennsylvania, said she hopes to "break stereotypes about what it means to be a Miss America in 2020" by being a "woman of science" who is authentic to herself.

"I'm not the beauty queen," she said. "I'm the brand ambassador for this organisation and I'm more than just someone with a crown on my head."

Victoria Hill of Georgia placed first runner-up.

No longer called contestants, the 51 women "candidates," who hailed from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, competed for a $50,000 scholarship and the "job" of Miss America, a one-year paid position they hope to use as a public platform for their "social impact initiative."

For the second year in a row, women were not judged in a swimsuit or how they look in an evening gown.

Instead, a series of interviews and talent demonstrations will determine who is best qualified to wear this year's crown.

"To make it relevant for these young women, it was important for us as a scholarship and service organisation to make sure that we were reflective of this generation, meaning that you no longer had to be defined by some sort of ideal," said Regina Hopper, president and chief executive of the Miss America Organisation.

READ MORE: Nancy Pelosi: People have a 'spring in their step' after Donald Trump impeached
Ms Schrier, 24, who spoke on stage about having tackled an eating disorder, said she decided to compete for Miss America after the swimsuit competition was ditched, along with other changes that have been made to modernise the organisation.

"I kind of figured that I would never get on that stage because I was a woman who did not want to get into a swimsuit on stage. And I didn't have a performing talent, which is really ironic now," she said, adding how she's the first Miss America to win with a science experiment, a presentation she brings to schools.

Ms Schrier is a cum laude graduate of Virginia Tech with dual bachelor of science degrees in bio chemistry and systems biology and she is currently studying to obtain a doctor of pharmacy degree.

Her platform issue is drug safety.

Morgan Nichols, Miss South Carolina, had her own message on Thursday night. She walked down the red carpet wearing a billowing, long skirt topped by a plain white T-shirt that read: "Stronger."

While Ms Hopper acknowledges there has been some push-back from "old pageant" people who liked the old way of doing things, she said there's been greater interest in the competition since the roll-out of Miss America 2.0.

When asked on stage whether the Miss America organization should change even more and allow married women and women with children to participate, both Ms Schrier and Ms Hill said no.

MS Schrier told reporters afterward that she believes the job would be too busy for a mother.

This year also marked the first time the multi-day event is being held at Mohegan Sun, a tribal casino and entertainment complex in suburban southeastern Connecticut. Miss America organisers announced plans this summer to leave Atlantic City, New Jersey - for the second time in its history.

Miss America also switched from ABC back to NBC to broadcast the glitzy finale to an estimated 4.5 million viewers. And for the first time, preliminary events and the finale - held in Mohegan's 10,000-seat arena - are being streamed live on the NBC app.

"We've had many, many large events. This probably reaches the most people," said Jeff Hamilton, president and general manager of Mohegan Sun. "We're just really, really excited about it."

Miss America organisers and NBC have not yet agreed to a multi-year contract with the Connecticut casino. A decision is expected in the coming months.

Ms Schrier succeeds 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin, a classically trained opera singer from New York.

The decision to drop the swimsuit competition did create great controversy and criticism of Miss America officials, including former board chair and former Fox News host Gretchen

Carlson, who said in 2018 that Miss America would represent "a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent and empowerment." Carlson has since stepped down.

Atlantic City businessmen came up with the idea for a pageant in 1921 as a way to extend the summer tourism season beyond Labor Day weekend. It became synonymous with the New Jersey seaside resort but moved to Las Vegas in 2005, returning to Atlantic City in 2013.

Football news:

Showsport: Tiago will make Liverpool more variable and thinner. Bayern will feel the loss, but only in the top matches
Jose did not include Dele alli even in the application (it seems, because of the conflict), but so far remained the winner-Son scored 4 from Kane's assists
Negredo scored the first goal for Cadiz. He has 113 goals in La Liga
Jose Mourinho: Kane killed the game. Tottenham were too good in the 2nd half
Braithwaite suffered a quadriceps injury in Barca training
Kane scored 5 (1+4) points in the match against Southampton
Son Heung-Min made a poker in the match against Southampton. All goals - from Kane