The 2019 winner of Miss America has been crowned and the new reigning Miss America is … Miss New York Nia Franklin.
There have been a lot of changes to the competition this year, like putting an emphasis on empowerment, eliminating the swimsuit segment, and referring to the pageant as a competition. According to ABC News, Miss America chairwoman Gretchen Carlson explained on Good Morning America that, “We want to pay tribute to tradition and we believe that physical appearance and beauty and being fit, that is empowering. We’re just not going to judge women on that anymore.” Get to know more about this year’s competition, especially when it comes to its new winner in our 5 Fast Facts below.
1. Opera Is Miss New York’s Talent
On stage at the Miss America pageant, for her talent portion, Franklin performed opera. In addition, she has a great interest in composing. And, she recently wrote on her Instagram account, “Did you know I have a master’s degree in music composition from @uncsa where I graduated summa cum laude? I also have a bachelor’s degree in music composition! ”
2. Her Father Is a Cancer Survivor
According to People, when Franklin won, she gave a shout out to her cancer-surviving father, along with the rest of her family, saying, “It took a lot of perseverance to get here and I just want to thank my beautiful family.” Franklin’s dad suffered from non-Hodgkin t-cell lymphoma and she did what she could to help.
Franklin revealed on her Instagram profile that, “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 … And I was the best stem cell donor match for him. I thank God for saving his life through this miraculous procedure!” She continued, saying, “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!'”
3. The Runner-Up for 2019 Is Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei
The first runner-up tonight was Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei. Following her were second runner-up, Miss Louisiana, third runner-up, Miss Florida, and fourth runner-up, Miss Massachusetts. And, according to Hollywood Life, the celebrities and entrepreneurs who did the judging this year were Laila Ali, Bobby Bones, Jessie James Decker, Randy Jackson, Soledad O’Brien, Alli Webb and Carnie Wilson.
4. Franklin’s Cause Is Arts Education
Every contestant has a platform or a cause and some even have more than one. Franklin is an advocate for Arts Education and she wrote on her Instagram page that, “The arts are just as important as any school subject; let’s make sure the children in our country receive a well-rounded education.”
During a question and answer portion of the Miss America pageant, Franklin revealed that she grew up in a “predominantly Caucasian school”. She said that she was self-conscious and that her love of music and the arts helped her to feel more secure in who she was as a person.
5. Miss America Is an Actual Job
Like any job can be, Miss America is a lot of work. It comes with a salary and definite perks, but there is a full schedule of duties and hundreds of hours for traveling. Public speaking is also a major part of the job.
According to the Miss America Organization, the job description reads, “Miss America is full-time, paid contractual employee of MAO. The job is an exciting, fun, challenging Year of Service that requires energy, positivity, professionalism and courtesy while engaging in extensive travel, often logging 20,000 miles a month and at times changing locations every 8-24 hours, throughout the United States and, at times, to other countries. Working with the MAO staff that schedules and provides logistical, support and guidance, she uses her term to promote and market the program to her peers and the next generation of young women. Miss America will work with the MAO team to develop goals and execute on tactics to advance her chosen Social Impact Initiative, setting metrics and developing partnerships which will show positive results at the end of her year. In addition, she also serves as the National Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network; raising funds and awareness for families who otherwise would not be able to afford quality medical care in urgent circumstances.”
At the 2019 Miss America Competition, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund took the stage in a green, glamorous dress, to help honor the brand new winner. Co-hosts Carrie Ann Inaba and Ross Mathews were both on stage to announce the winner together.
The top 5 contestants tonight were Miss New York Nina Franklin, Miss Louisiana Holli’ Conway, Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras, Miss Florida Taylor Tyson and Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei. With the announcement came the final interview from some of the judges on this year’s panel.
Franklin was up first and judge Laila Ali asked her about how being from New York has prepared her for Miss America. Franklin said that being a New Yorker, she knows how to work hard. She also said she wants to share her platform advocating for the arts. Next was Conway and judge Alli Webb asked her why she wasn’t interested in being famous. Conway said that she doesn’t want to be famous because she wouldn’t want to lose her privacy, but she stressed that it doesn’t mean she isn’t prepared to be famous.
Jessie James Decker then asked Taveras about men who don’t want to be there for their children. Raised in a single-parent home, Taveras felt very strongly about the responsibilities that come along with fatherhood. Tyson was then asked by judge Bobby Bones about failure. Tyson said that failure implies defeat, but she is a firm belief that ever setback is a setup for your comeback. Oei was the final contestant to face the judges. Carnie Wilson asked her what she would like to invent if she could. Oei said that she would like to invent an app to help with early detection in illnesses.
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