Platforms: Not Just Shoes Anymore
In 1989, the Miss America organization officially required each contestant to choose a cause or charity to support. The idea was to not only give airtime to myriad issues affecting the nation, but to also have Miss America use her stature to "address community service organizations, business and civic leaders, the media and others about [her] platform issues." Since then, the role of Miss America has been strictly philanthropic. The beauty queen travels, speaking to community leaders, politicians, and school organizations about her cause, which might be STD prevention, homelessness, domestic violence, voter registration, or literacy.