Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin was named Miss America 2019 in Atlantic City. Her victory Sunday night resurrected a string of successes the Empire State has had in the pageant in recent years. Mallory Hagan, Nina Davuluri and Kira Kazantsev won the title from 2013 to 2015 competing as Miss New York.
A classical vocalist whose pageant platform is “advocating for the arts,” Franklin sang an operatic selection from the opera La Boheme on Sunday night.
She wrote her first song at age 6. It went “Love, love, love, love, is the only thing that matters to me, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.”
She won a $50,000 scholarship along with the crown in the first Miss America pageant to be held without a swimsuit competition.
Franklin said during her onstage interview that she was one of only a small number of minority students in school growing up, but used her love for music and the arts to grow and fit in.
The fourth runner up was Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras; third runner up was Miss Florida Taylor Tyson; second runner up was Miss Louisiana Holli’ Conway, and the first runner up was Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei.
The judges narrowed the field of 51 candidates during the pageant Sunday night from Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
Behind the scenes, a revolt is underway among most of the Miss America state organizations who demand that national chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper resign.
The outgoing Miss America, Cara Mund, says the two have bullied and silenced her, claims that the women deny.
Adding to the intrigue was a remarkable letter released by Mund, the outgoing Miss America, who said Carlson and Hopper had bullied, silenced and marginalized her. They deny doing any of that, saying they have been working tirelessly to move the organization into the future.
Mund only appeared at the very end of the pageant before the next winner was crowned. She was not allowed to speak live; instead a 30-second taped segment of her speaking was broadcast.