Representing New York, Franklin was crowned the 92nd Miss America 2019 at Sunday’s event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
An opera singer, Franklin is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and earned her master’s degree in music composition from UNC School of the Arts. She moved to New York after being accepted at the Kenan Fellow program at Lincoln Center Education in Manhattan.
“I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only five percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin,” Franklin said. “But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was.”
Franklin is the first winner after the Miss America Organization announced a major change for the historic pageant. For the first time in the pageant’s history, contestants were not judged on their physical appearance. In addition, the term “pageant” was erased from the broadcast, with hosts Carrie Ann Inaba and Ross Matthews referring to it as a “competition.”
Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei, was named first runner-up to Miss America 2019.
Instead of a swimsuit competition, the competitors had a interactive session with the judges panel, which included Soledad O’Brien, Randy Jackson, Laila Ali, Bobby Bones, Jessie James Decker, Carnie Wilson and Alli Webb. The first challenge was also a unique take on the Q&A session, with the competitors asking each other questions, and they only had 15 seconds to answer.
The rest of the top five included Miss Connecticut, Bridget Oei; Miss Florida, Taylor Tyson; Miss Louisiana, Holli’ Conway; and Miss Massachusetts, Gabriela Taveras.
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Me walking down the red carpet when I get my first Grammy nomination… DREAM BIG ⭐️ Tonight, one of my dreams came true. Walking in a gown on the Miss America stage was the most amazing feeling. I shared my passion for the arts and how I will continue my work of advocating for the arts, so that every child in our country can have access to a well-rounded education. 🎨🎺🎭#advocatingforthearts Gown: @jovanifashions Gown Sponsor: @cocoschateau