Other pageant executives made their exit and former titleholders tried to wipe the slate clean, making room for a new pageant board and an all-female leadership team that was announced in May, including Regina Hopper, Miss Arkansas 1983, who is the new president and CEO of the Miss America Organization.
Hopper, the new Miss America president and CEO, tells NJ Advance Media that the cultural moment and Carlson's leadership crystallized a progressive direction, even as critics had long ago written the pageant off as irrelevant at best and deeply offensive at worst.
"We have seen a major shift in the country over the past few months," Hopper says. "I do think that the cultural shift that we've experienced right now is allowing this to happen."
Hopper is now responsible for managing regular pageant business and the event's TV broadcast. An executive at Gridsmart, a Tennessee traffic technology company, the former pageant queen is also an Emmy-winning former correspondent for CBS News.
She pointed to Carlson's public example as a source of energy and inspiration for change within the pageant.
"When she went out on her own, she was doing that before there was a #MeToo movement," Hopper says, referring to the post-Weinstein version of Tarana Burke's original 2007 hashtag campaign. By the time Carlson's book, "Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back," came out, the Weinstein story was dominating the headlines and she was being cited as a women's empowerment and equality advocate instead of just a former Fox News employee.
"Here is a former product of the (Miss America) system who was able to do what she did and now wants to open up that system to more people," Hopper says.
(Pictured above: Theresa Vail, the first contestant to show tattoos on the Miss America stage, in 2013.)