This may be the first Miss America event to not judge appearances, but Nia Franklin certainly looked like a winner as she accepted her crown in the most gorgeous gown! See more pics, here.
Nia Franklin wore the perfect dress to be bestowed the honor of Miss America. The elegant fit, the frilly shoulder detail — no wonder a crown was put on Miss New York’s head! Nia wore a white mermaid gown, with one shoulder topped off with layered frills. The new Miss America debuted her evening gown earlier during the competition’s “red carpet” portion, a replacement of Miss America’s traditional “evening gown” round, a historical first. Congratulations on your new title, Miss America, our rooting for you paid off! Nia’s gown was not only gorgeous, but symbolized a new step for the Miss America organization’s vision.
“Starting this year, candidates will no longer be judged on outward appearance,” Miss America’s website reads. “The choice of wardrobe is now open so everyone can express their own very individual style.” This change comes in light of Miss America’s new leadership, headed by CEO Regina Hopper and chairwoman Gretchen Carlson. To prove this point, the organization also replaced its swimsuit round with what Miss America called “a live interaction session with the judges.” That decision spurred almost half of the organization’s board members to resign, The Wall Street Journal reported!
We can see the impact these changes have already made, because Nia’s pretty dress wasn’t the sole reason she beat out 51 contestants for the crowning title. Miss New York added brains to her beauty when she delivered an introspective response for the competition’s questions and answers portion. “I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian school — only five percent of students were minorities. I felt so out of place as a woman of color,” Nia replied when Miss Indiana asked how she can promote a positive body image. “But I found my love in arts and music and that made me feel positive about myself and who I was. that’s what I would encourage young girls to do — find who they are.” Okay Nia, we hear you — especially when you belted out jaw-dropping vocals for your opera performance during the talent portion!
We wish we were right with the other finalists, clapping right along as Nia strutted past! This year’s competition may be over now, but if you want to see these beauties again, head on over to our 2019 Miss America gallery.