And in the United States, no pageant is more firmly rooted in popular culture than Miss America, which was founded in 1921 as a "bathing beauty revue" based in Atlantic City, N.J.
They've long since leaned into the scholarship side of the proceedings—in 1945, the organization became one of few in the country offering money to women for the sole purpose of going to college—and in recent years efforts have been made to make the Miss America Pageant more inclusive, less male-gaze-y and as modern as a 102-year-old institution can possibly be.
Which, believe it or not, hasn't sat well with everyone involved.
But even without its change-averse critics, Miss America hasn't arrived at this point in time without tripping over its own train on numerous occasions, no outside help required, as A&E's Secrets of Miss America is here to point out.
The premiere of Secrets of Miss America will be streaming Tuesday, July 11. Episode two premieres Monday, July 17, at 10 p.m. on A&E.