Nia Franklin (267739)

Nia Franklin, a stunning Black beauty from the state of New York, was crowned Miss America 2.0 on Sunday night at the annual competition. A classically trained opera singer, Franklin focused on education and equal opportunity when answering her interview questions. Franklin also declared herself a “New York girl.” She said, “I have New York grit. As a New Yorker, I understand what it means to work hard.” The 25-year-old graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied music composition. Franklin joins former Miss America Vanessa Williams as a winner from New York, which has more winners in the history of the pageant than any other state at seven. The pageant, which began in 1921, has undergone several changes in recent years. It was the first among these types of events to drop the swimsuit competition, and it’s actually been rebranded as Miss America 2.0. In addition, it’s being referred to as a competition more than a pageant. “It took a lot of perseverance to get her,” Franklin said. “I want to thank my beautiful family, my mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer.” Judges for the competition included Laila Ali, Bobby Jones, Randy Johnson, Jesse James Decker, Soledad O’Brien, Alli Web and Carnie Wilson.