Nia Imani Franklin representing New York was crowned 92nd Miss America 2019 on Sunday. Talking at the event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Franklin said, "It took a lot of perseverance to get here," Franklin said after her win. "I want to thank my beautiful family, my mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer." Franklin, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is an opera singer and has a masters in music composition from UNC School of the Arts. After being accepted at the Kenan Fellow program at Lincoln Center Education in Manhattan, she moved to New York.
Franklin was also awarded USD 50,000 scholarship along with the crown. After the event, she told reporters that she was glad there was no swimsuit competition. Franklin said she could eat a little more because of it. In the past, Mallory Hagan, Nina Davuluri and Kira Kazantsev all representing New York won the title from 2013 to 2015.
View this post on Instagram
CNN quoted her as saying how helped her find her identity. She said, "I grew up in a predominately Caucasian school and there was only five per cent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the colour of my skin. But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was."
Dance and television dancing reality show judge Carrie Ann Inaba hosted the pageant. Laila Ali, Bobby Bones, Randy Jackson, Jessie James Decker, Soledad O'Brien, Alli Webb and Carnie Wilson were the judges of the night.
Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei, was named first runner-up, the second runner-up was Miss Louisiana Holli' Conway; the third runner-up was Miss Florida Taylor Tyson and Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras was the fourth runner-up. The winners were chosen from 51 candidates during the event held at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
Miss America leadership was marred by controversy in the recent past after it decided to drop the swimsuit segment. When an announcement ahead of the event on Sunday confirmed that there would be no swimsuit round, the audience booed. The controversial bikini round was replaced with onstage interviews. Participants openly criticised US President Donald Trump and also remarked on NFL players protests among other topics.