Press release from ABC, Aug. 12, 2015:
The wife of the late U.S. Navy SEAL “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and author, Taya Kyle, entrepreneur and businessman of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Kevin O’Leary and 2014 Paralympic snowboarding bronze medalist and motivational speaker, Amy Purdy, will be judges on the “2016 Miss America Competition.” They join previously announced judge and country star Brett Eldredge. The “2016 Miss America Competition” returns to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 (9:00-11:00p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The evening will be filled with glitz and glam as 52 women compete for the coveted crown and scholarship.
For the first time in Miss America history, fans have the opportunity to cast their vote entirely on social media for America’s Choice. The winner of America’s Choice will move forward to the Top 15 in the competition. Fans can vote on both Facebook and Twitter by posting a status and/or tweet with the name of the state they are voting for and the hashtag #MissAmericaVote. Voting is now open and closes on Thursday, September 10 at 11:59 p.m., ET.
“The Miss America Organization provides millions of dollars in annual college scholarship assistance making it the largest scholarship program for women in the United States,” said Kyle. “I am honored to be a part of an organization that not only helps the contestants but their communities and children as well. The women who compete in this program contribute tens of thousands of community service hours annually and have raised over $10 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Miss America scholarships.”
“The Miss America Title is a remarkable platform and an extraordinary opportunity for any woman that is awarded it,” said O’Leary. “As a judge, I’ll be looking for the woman that can best articulate how she will use this opportunity to advance a charity that will help others and/or build a business that will employ Americans, and above all use the title to encourage other young women to do the same. There is a reason that The Miss America Organization has been around since 1921 – it has helped young women make a difference for multiple generations. I’m very proud to be involved.”
“Miss America celebrates strong women who are passionate about serving as an advocate for their communities and strive to make a positive impact,” said Purdy. “I’m honored to be part of an organization with such a long and dedicated history of giving back.”
Additional hosts and judges for the “2016 Miss America Competition” will be announced in the coming weeks.
About The Judges
Taya Kyle is the wife of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, Navy SEAL, New York Times Best Selling author and subject of the 2014 film American Sniper. She is also the New York Times Best Selling Author of American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith and Renewal. Taya serves as a strong voice within the military community and regularly speaks to audiences across the country about the challenges facing veterans, first responders and their families. She also delivers inspiring messages about the value of knowing who you are, what you believe in and standing strong for it. She’s been a guest and commentator for ABC, NBC, Fox News, MSNBC, “Good Morning America”, and Anderson Cooper and received widespread attention for her moving speech at the National Rifle Association’s 2013 annual meeting, establishing herself as an outspoken leader. In addition, she has published Chris’ best-selling American Gun and serves as executive director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation while raising her two children.
Kevin O’Leary is “Mr. Wonderful” and an investor on ABC’s Emmy Award(R)- winning “Shark Tank.” He is also an investor on ABC’s “Beyond the Tank.” He is the co-founder of SoftKey Software Products, later called the Learning Company that was sold to Mattel in 1999 for $4.2 billion. He is the Chairman of O’Leary Funds Management LP, O’Shares ETF Investments, O’Leary Ventures and O’Leary Productions. He is a member of Boston’s 107-year-old Hamilton Trust. He is a contributor to CNBC, ABC News and “Good Morning America”, and an entrepreneur/investor co-host for the Discovery Channel’s “Project Earth” series that explores innovative ways man could reverse global warming implementing large-scale geo-engineering infrastructure projects. O’Leary is an active photographer, guitarist and author of three number #1 best-selling books Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women and Money and Family, Kids and Money. He is also the Chairman of O’Leary Fine Wines.
Amy Purdy is a multi-talented woman who beat all of the odds. At 19 she was diagnosed with Meningococcal Meningitis and was given less than a two percent chance of survival. She fought through a myriad of procedures including a kidney transplant and double-leg amputation below the knee to become the top ranked adaptive snowboarder in the U.S., a three-time World Cup Para-Snowboard winner and the 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist. She is now an advocate for the Paralympic community and co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, a non-profit organization which helps those with permanent disabilities to get involved in action sports. She has been able to share her incredible story and inspire millions through her NY Times Best Selling memoir, On My Own Two Feet, as well as her experience on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and on Oprah’s “The Life You Want Tour.” Her career as a motivational speaker, actress, spokesperson and model has helped name her one of the most commercially successful Paralympic/adaptive athletes in the world. She is currently in the process of launching her own clothing line, The Amy Purdy Collection, in partnership with Element Eden.