New York's very own Nia Franklin reigned supreme in the Miss America pageant. The competition notably rebranded itself this year.
The beauty queen was crowned in Atlantic City, New Jersey, along four other women who made it through the final question-and-answer round. Other candidates who made it to the last round are Gabriela Taveras from Massachusetts, who won fourth runner-up; Taylor Tyson from Florida, the third runner-up; Holli' Conway from Louisiana, who bagged the second runner-up; and Bridget Oei from Connecticut, who was hailed as first runner-up.
Changes In The Pageant
The competition underwent changes for this year's pageant. Instead of the usual swimsuit round, the contestants were just interviewed. Through this portion, the contestants were able to express their opinions about current issues and other topics.
Furthermore, the evening gown competition was also axed. To replace this, the contestants were encouraged to wear whatever style they choose. According to the organization, the changes aid the candidates to let other people know about their goals, attainments, and how they will use their passion and skills in order to do a good job as Miss America.
"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," said the new Miss America when she met with journalists after she won the pageant.
She also added that she feels extremely happy the she did not win the crown because she, along with her co-candidates, are more than the swimsuit competition.
Franklin's win brought back the crown to New York after several years. The crown was previously won by Mallory Hagan, Nina Davuluri, and Kira Kazantsev in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively.
Franklin is also motivated by her advocacy on the arts. On Sept. 9, she performed an operatic selection from La Boheme, an opera. The beauty queen also wrote her first song when she was just five years old, which she sang after she was urged by a reporter from Associated Press.
The winner won $50,000 worth of scholarship. Franklin stated that growing up, she was one of the few students who belonged in the minority. However, she made use of her talent and love for arts and music to grow.
The pageant was hosted by Carrie Ann Inaba of Dancing with the Stars and Ross Matthews of Celebrity Big Brother. Judges included radio personality Bobby Bones, reality star Jessie James Decker, former American Idol judge Randy Jackson, musician Carnie Wilson, podcaster Alli Webb, and journalist Soledad O'Brien.