STYLE

Miss World Competition Bans Bikini Rounds From Future Pageants

12/22/2014 04:13 EST | Updated 12/22/2014 05:59 EST

Now this is grace before beauty. The Miss World organization has announced plans to nix the competition's swimsuit round, effectively banning the bikini from the contest.

The group and its annual event abides by the "beauty with a purpose" credo, and will replace the bathing suits with a "beachwear" event instead.

"There didn't seem to be a purpose to have the swimsuit," said Chris Wilmer, national director of Miss World America and Miss United States, to ABC News. "Pageantry is an age old industry and I think with [Miss World chairwoman Julia Morley] getting rid of swimsuit and making it more of a lifestyle competition sends a strong message and I applaud her for it."

But, this isn't the first time the bikini contest has been dropped by the Miss World team. The pageant executives altered that section of the competition in 2013, out of respect for the Muslim modesty observed by the event's host country of Indonesia. Similarly, though the bikini judging and scoring has not been televised since 2001, it remained a controversial issue for critics who dubbed it "sexist" or did not see its connection to the contested goodwill ambassadorship.

Clarifying the Miss World decision, Wilner also told ABC News the beachwear segment will be on-brand, and "more of a fashion competition than a bikini show."

South Africa's Rolene Strauss was crowned the 64th Miss World champion on Dec. 14 in London, and will be the last winner to have competed in the swimsuit round. The reigning Miss World Canada, Annora Bourgeault, placed in the Top 10 at the event's People's Choice vote.

Other famed women who have won the coveted sash include India's Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra.

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