Miss New York Nia Franklin has taken over the crown of Miss America from Cara Mund at Sunday’s crowning ceremony held at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The show which was hosted by Carrie Ann Inaba & Ross Matthews saw the North Carolina native beat 51 other contestants to the coveted crown.
Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei was first runner up, followed by Miss Louisiana, Holli Conway, Miss Florida Taylor Tyson and Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras, in the second, third, and fourth runner-up positions respectively.
One of the winning factors for the music composition masters degree holder, was her performance of a segment from the well-known opera La Boheme.
The new changes to the 2019 Miss America was also a highlight of Sunday night’s competition. There was no Swimsuit competition. The organisers announced some months back that it was to ensure the competition took away all focus from the candidates physical appearance.
Like her predecessor, Nia Franklin will receive $50,000 scholarship and a year-round job as the new face of the pageantry.
Who Is Nia Franklin? 5 Inspiring Details About Miss America 2019
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Is New Miss America 2019? New Details Nia Franklin Miss America Miss New York
She once saved her father’s life.
The annual Miss America pageant took place Sunday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Nia Franklin of New York took home the coveted title and crown.
The organization behind Miss America has been making headlines this past year even before the pageant began. It was decided that the swimsuit competition — a topic that has been widely debated among beauty pageants — would no longer be included. starting with this year’s event.
Naturally, changing a routine that has been ingrained in American culture for nearly an entire century was met with criticism.
While some fans of the program deemed the decision to nix the swimsuit portion unnecessary, others felt it was actually a step in the right direction, especially as many women are the subject of body shaming and continue to feel the pressure to maintain unattainable body standards.
One person who was happy to see the swimsuit competition go? The newly crowned Miss America herself.
Following her win on Sunday night, Nia opened up regarding her outlook on the much-debated topic.
“I’m happy that I didn’t have to do so to win this title tonight because I’m more than just that. And all these women onstage are more than just that.”
She went on to add the positive effect the organization’s decision has had on other women as well.
“I’ve already seen so many young women reaching out to me personally as Miss New York asking how they can get involved because I think they feel more empowered that they don’t have to do things such as walk in a swimsuit for a scholarship.”
I sang my heart out on the Miss America Stage last night #musicmatters #advocatingforthearts Gown: @cocoschateau Hair: @laurenellen82
A post shared by Miss New York (@missamericany) on Sep 6, 2018 at 9:01am PDT
Gretchen Carlson, who is the chair of the organization and a former Miss America herself, came to the decision to scrap the swimsuit portion in an effort to not only keep the pageant current but also in light of the events surrounding the #MeToo movement.
Despite the Miss America contestants being accomplished young women, so much of the focus has always been on their appearance. And while all of them are certainly beautiful, perhaps now there will a shift in focus on their accomplishments and the incredible ways they have given back to their communities — as opposed to how good they look in a two-piece.
As Nia Franklin takes center stage at the 2019 Miss America, here are five inspiring details to know about this amazing young woman:
1. She’s originally from North Carolina.
Although she represented the state of New York for the competition, Nia actually grew up in North Carolina. Despite not being a born and bred New Yorker, she believes having lived in different communities, as previous Miss New York’s have, gives her a broader perspective.
2. She is a singer and songwriter.
“Violets and Violins” performed at Lincoln Center – Words and Music written by me. ****Click Link in bio to see full video without IG messing up the audio/video sync****. . . . #singersongwriter #isthatavioletemoji #newmusic #newyorkcity #band #violins #melanin
A post shared by Nia Imani (@niaimanifranklin) on Mar 14, 2018 at 4:17pm PDT
Nia’s talent for the Miss America pageant was operatic singing, something she discovered while looking into studying music composition.
The schools that Nia was applying to for musical composition, however, required the ability to play an instrument. Though Nia could play the piano, she didn’t feel comfortable enough to play for an audition. Because of her strong singing background, including performing with her church and school choirs, she decided to study classical voice instead. In addition to singing, Nia is an accomplished songwriter and composer.
She has even performed at New York City’s prestigious Lincoln Center.
3. She is an advocate for arts education.
I spent my morning with pretty much the cutest children you can spend your morning with – babies and toddlers! About a month ago, Lincoln Center Education invited me to lead an engagement activity for kids aged 0-24 months along with their parents. We sang nursery rhymes, colored, played piano and ukuleles, and ate applesauce I think they had a lot of fun, I know I did! #musicforlife #adorablehumans
A post shared by Nia Imani (@niaimanifranklin) on Mar 24, 2018 at 3:52pm PDT
That love of music has transcended into her advocacy for the arts in America’s education programs. Nia has discussed in interviews how she grew up taking classes in music and the arts, frequently taking as many of these classes as she possibly could.
While obtaining her master’s degree, Nia was a member of ArtistsCorp, a sub-organization of AmeriCorps. During this time she would teach music in schools that didn’t have formal music programs.
Though she had always been involved in her community, she discussed how a particular moment while teaching at a preschool inspired her to become an arts education advocate. By discovering how music had positively changed the life of one of the young students, Nia realized just how important music programs are, especially for children.
4. She has a master’s degree.
Look at God…This week I prayed for peace. Peace of mind, peace of spirit, and peace with the outcome of the competition. Well, I’m definitely at peace with the outcome I’m so proud of the 23 accomplished women I spent the week with! We had the best time in Buffalo! Also, a huge thanks to executive directors Linda Carbo and Art Hunsinger for making me feel so special and like Miss New York the last 23 hours ☺️. • Thank you to every single individual who believed in me and supported me on my journey. I am in awe of God and ready to take on my time as Miss New York advocating for the arts, and serving my state! Follow my time as Miss New York and my journey to the Miss America competition at my official account @missamericany . #missnewyork #missNY2018 #missamerica #wonderwomen #newyork #newyorkcity #mao
A post shared by Nia Imani (@niaimanifranklin) on Jul 1, 2018 at 4:58pm PDT
In case you weren’t inspired enough already, at just 24 years old Nia also has a master’s degree as well. She received her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and earned her master’s at the UNC School of the Arts.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, which is based out of Nia’s hometown in North Carolina, she has also expressed an interest in composing music for movies down the road.
5. She donated stem cells to her father and helped save his life.
Did you know I was once a patient at a CMN Hospital? When my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin t-cell lymphoma, he went through chemotherapy but relapsed twice. Finally, his doctors at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, NC, decided that a stem cell transplant would be the best chance at saving his life. They sent him to Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC, which is a CMN hospital. And I was the best stem cell donor match for him. I thank God for saving his life through this miraculous procedure! I haven’t shared this picture before. In fact, only family and close friends have seen it. I was embarrassed because I was so bloated. (So vain, I know) The bloating resulted from a series of injections to get my blood ready. I am now empowered by this photo when I look at it. I know that I made a difference in my daddy’s life and that is nothing to be ashamed of. My dad received his stem cell transplant on May 1, 2013, and he is alive and thriving, all to the glory of God and his awesome medical team at Duke Medical! The nurses were so sweet, and put a halo on my head because they said I was my daddy’s “angel!” I hope this encourages you to share and speak your truth because you never know who you will inspire and help. #GodisGood #stemcells
A post shared by Miss New York (@missamericany) on Aug 23, 2018 at 5:48am PDT
On the official Miss New York Instagram account, Nia shared the story with her followers. Her dad had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Though he was treated with chemotherapy, he relapsed twice and it was decided that a stem cell transplant would be the best course of action to save his life. Nia turned out to the best match for her father and became his stem cell donor. The transplant took place on May 1, 2013, and her dad continues to be “alive and thriving”. It’s safe to say he must be incredibly proud of his accomplished and inspiring daughter.