Nia Franklin was crowned the new Miss America on Sunday night in Atlantic City, NJ. She is the first Miss America to be chosen in the revamped, no-more-swimsuits era. In addition to her crown, the 25-year-old New Yorker earned a $50,000 scholarship.
According to the Miss America website, Franklin is a classically trained singer, songwriter and composer. She wrote her first song at age 6. She earned a master’s degree in music composition from the U. Of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2017.
Ms. Franklin works to raise awareness of cancer research. She donated her own stem cells to her father, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It was an act of Love that saved her father’s life.
The Miss America contestants did not wear bikinis or swimsuits in the newly revamped pageant that has been dubbed “Miss America 2.0”.
The controversial overhaul of the Miss America pageant was the brainchild of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, 52.
The new changes were announced in June. Since then, many Miss America contestants — past and present — have complained about the direction Carlson is taking the pageant in.
Carlson told Good Morning America “We are no longer a pageant; we are a competition. We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance.”
The Miss America pageant, which was created nearly a century ago, was popular, in no small part thanks to the swimsuit competition.
Carlson, a former Miss America herself, made the decision to axe the swimsuit competition after reading vulgar emails about past contestants — herself included.
Three executives were given the boot from the organization as a result of the fat-shaming emails.
Carlson tweeted about the emails in December:
“As a proud former Miss America and former member of the Board of the Miss America Organization, I am shocked and deeply saddened by the disgusting statements about women attributed to the leadership of the MAO. No woman should be demeaned with such vulgar slurs.”
Carlson said the new competition is inclusive of everyone.
“We’ve heard from a lot of young women who say, ‘We’d love to be a part of your program, but we don’t want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit,'” she told GMA. “So guess what? You don’t have to do that anymore. You’re welcome. Please come join us.”
Carlson sued Fox Network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. She settled with the network for a small fortune in 2016. Ailes died in 2017 from a subdural hematoma (blood clot in his brain) after falling and hitting his head at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.