Who Is Nia Franklin, Miss America 2019?

Lou Rocco / ABC

Last night in Atlantic City, outgoing winner Cara Mund crowned Nia Franklin as Miss America 2019. Franklin competed in the event as Miss New York. With the crown, she became the seventh woman in the title as Miss New York in the long history of the pageant, which started in 1921 and revamped this year as Miss America 2.0 when it dropped the swimsuit competition.

Carrie Ann Inaba and Ross Matthews co-hosted the evening at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, and the judges included Laila Ali, Bobby Bones, Jessie James Decker, Randy Jackson, Soledad O’Brien, and Alli Webb, according to a report from Inquisitr. An opera singer, Franklin wowed the crowd with her rendition of “Quando m’en vo,” the Washington Post reported.

Franklin said, “I want America to see that classical music is still alive and thriving, especially that an African-American woman is singing opera. Because there’s so many kids out there that don’t know that they can do classical music.”

Now that she’s won, who is Nia Fraklin?

According to an E! News report, the newly crowned winner of the updated contest originally comes from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In fact, in 2016, the 23-year-old graduate of East Carolina University with an undergraduate major in music composition competed for Miss North Carolina among 40 women who vied for that title. However, with a move to New York, she competed for Miss New York before this year’s Miss America.

Franklin also began composing music at only 6-years-old, and since that time, she’s penned more than 100 songs. She earned her master’s degree in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and she plans to work for her doctorate in music composition at either Juilliard or Princeton University.

In 2017, the newly crowned Miss America earned the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center. She plans to use her platform to highlight her social impact initiative, which is Advocating for the Arts to ensure that “all students have access to a quality education.”

Franklin said during the competition, “I grew up in a school with only 5 percent minority, but growing up, I found my love of arts and through music, I felt positive about myself and who I was. That’s what I would encourage young girls to do, find who you are.”

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Did you know I was once a patient at a CMN Hospital? 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. They sent him to Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC, which is a CMN hospital. And I was the best stem cell donor match for him. I thank God for saving his life through this miraculous procedure! I haven't shared this picture before. In fact, only family and close friends have seen it. I was embarrassed because I was so bloated. (So vain, I know) The bloating resulted from a series of injections to get my blood ready. I am now empowered by this photo when I look at it. I know that I made a difference in my daddy's life and that is nothing to be ashamed of. 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!” I hope this encourages you to share and speak your truth because you never know who you will inspire and help. #GodisGood #stemcells

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After her win, Franklin said, “It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my beautiful family. My mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer.” She helped her father by donating stem cells to help with her dad’s fight against non-Hodgkins lymphoma. When doctors learned she was a perfect match after her father relapsed twice, Franklin stepped up to help provide the stem cell treatment for her dad, and he received it on May 1, 2013.