The new Miss America winner doesn’t believe contestants should get married or have children

  • Miss Wisconsin Grace Stanky won the title of Miss America 2023 Thursday night.
  • Stank told Insider that she adheres to the rule that contestants cannot marry or have children.
  • “We spend a lot of time on the road,” she said. “It’s a very tough stance.”

Currently married mothers and women cannot compete for the Miss America pageant, and Grace Stank, who was crowned the new winner Thursday, doesn’t think those rules should change.

Stanke represented Wisconsin during the competition held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Speaking with Insider on Friday, Stank said she believes a Miss America pageant winner shouldn’t be married or have kids because it’s such a difficult role.

“She’s Miss America and we’re between the ages of 18 and 26, and it says in the contract now that she has to be unmarried,” Stank told Insider. “We spend a lot of time on the road.”

She added, “The position of Miss America is very demanding, requiring an average of 20,000 miles of travel per month and visiting cities across the country for no more than 48 hours at a time.”

“It’s a very tough position, and I’m excited to be in this role and excited to be in it,” Stank said.

Stank also credited Miss America for helping pay for her education. She received nearly $70,000 in scholarship money from the organization and said attending graduate school is now an option.

Miss America 2023 Grace Stanek

Stanky was crowned Thursday night.

Miss America

“The Miss America Organization gives $5 million a year to women across the country and it’s changing people’s lives,” said Stank. “Receiving an education allows me to further pursue my career as a student of nuclear engineering and an advocate for nuclear energy in the future.”

It was announced earlier this year that married women and mothers would be allowed to compete in the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants for the first time starting in 2023. It was a big change, which Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza told Insider was a long time coming. coming. .

Brian Lowe, a spokesperson for the Miss America Organization, told Insider that there are no plans to change the rule “at this time.”

Stanke isn’t the first Miss America to abide by the organization’s rule. Camille Scherer, who won Miss America 2020, also told Insider at the time that she didn’t think pageant contestants should be married or have children.

“I think Miss America is a very unique job, and quite frankly, I worry about what I’m going to do with my cats at home now that I’m doing this job and I’m constantly on the road,” Schreyer said.

Camille Shearer, winner of the 99th Miss America, will receive the crown on Thursday.

Miss America 2020 Camille Schreyer.

Eric Liebowitz/Getty Images

Both Shearer and Miss Georgia 2020 Victoria Hill said during the Miss America broadcast that they believe the winner of the pageant should be single and have no children. Karamo Brown and Kelly Rowland, who were judges for that year’s competition, later spoke out against their answers.

“I felt it was important to have a counter voice in case there was a mother out there watching this, because we never know the circumstances of how anyone becomes a father,” Brown said.

“If a young parent is in college and trying to get her degree, or is just working and wants to be in the Miss America pageant, I felt it was important for her to know that she could do it and that there were no limitations,” he continued.

“I was so happy that Karamo said that,” said Roland. “We’re approaching our next decade in 2020. We can do anything, when and however we want, we make the rules.”

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