MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Monday, dozens of contestants will compete to become the next Miss USA at Graceland Soundstage. The competition is sure to look different this year because of the pandemic.
While all the ladies are eyeing for the crown this year, there won’t be much socializing backstage like there usually is.
According to officials with the Miss Universe Organization, they created a “bubble-like” atmosphere on Graceland’s campus. Each participant had to get tested for COVID-19 before leaving their state and upon arrival.
They also had to be quarantined for 12 hours while awaiting test results.
Aysa Branch, who made history as the first African American woman to become Miss Mississippi USA, said this year’s competition one has been a unique experience for more reasons than one. “It’s hard because we’re so used to socializing with all the girls and getting to know them, but we’re kept in groups with our ‘host mom’ so we only get to see a few girls regularly and we don’t get to interact with everybody like we normally would.”
The audience will also be limited to about 300 people. They, along with production staff members, must wear a mask at all times.
Contestants will not have to wear a mask while competing.
This is one of the first major events held in the Bluff City amid the pandemic. The competition will air today on FYI.