Who Is New York’s Nia Imani Franklin, Miss America 2019 Winner?
On Sunday night, Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin was crowned Miss America 2019.
The 25-year-old opera singer took over the title from current Miss America Cara Mund after stunning at the pageant in Atlantic City. Franklin — a University of North Carolina alum — sang an excerpt from the famous opera La Boheme at the competition, which marked the first one that didn’t include a swimsuit portion since the event first launched in 1921. This year’s contest was called Miss America 2.0.
Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei finished as the first runner-up.
Franklin earned a $50,000 scholarship along with the title. She centered her statements on education and equal opportunity.
“I have New York grit,” said the Winston-Salem, North Carolina native. “As a New Yorker I understand what it means to work hard.”
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Me walking down the red carpet when I get my first Grammy nomination… DREAM BIG ⭐️ Tonight, one of my dreams came true. Walking in a gown on the Miss America stage was the most amazing feeling. I shared my passion for the arts and how I will continue my work of advocating for the arts, so that every child in our country can have access to a well-rounded education. 🎨🎺🎭#advocatingforthearts Gown: @jovanifashions Gown Sponsor: @cocoschateau
The Miss America pageant has been marred by controversy over the past year. Most recently, Mund accused former competition winner Gretchen Carlson, the Miss America chairwoman, of bullying and harassment. Carlson denied the allegations, despite Mund receiving strong support from dozens of other previous pageant winners after she wrote a letter to the organization’s board. Many people have pressured both Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper to resign.
Instead of the swimsuit portion, participants were asked more questions onstage. The subjects of the interviews included many news-dominating topics like President Donald Trump‘s policies and the NFL anthem protests.
Each of the 51 contestants was also asked to embrace a cause or make a “social impact” statement. Naturally, Franklin advocated for the arts.
This year instead of platforms the Miss America contestants have social impact statements. pic.twitter.com/BIN8h23la6
— Julia Terruso (@JuliaTerruso) September 9, 2018
Mund is now set to enroll in law school.