New Miss Amer­ica glad she didn’t have to wear a swim­suit to win

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

AT­LANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The first woman to win the Miss Amer­ica crown with­out hav­ing to don a swim­suit says she’s glad she didn’t have to.

Nia Imani Franklin, who won the ti­tle Sun­day night in At­lantic City while com­pet­ing as Miss New York, said the changes in the 98-year-old pageant are a wel­come mod­ern­iza­tion.

Meet­ing re­porters soon af­ter win­ning the crown, Franklin said she’s glad there was no swim­suit com­pe­ti­tion be­cause it en­abled her to eat a lit­tle more.

“These changes, I think, will be great for our or­ga­ni­za­tion,” she said. “I’ve al­ready seen so many young women reach­ing out to me per­son­ally as Miss New York ask­ing how they can get in­volved be­cause I think they feel more em­pow­ered that they don’t have to do things such as walk in a swim­suit for a schol­ar­ship.

“And I’m happy that I didn’t have to do so to win this ti­tle tonight be­cause I’m more than just that,” Franklin said. “And all these women on­stage are more than just that.”

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 5. It went “Love, love, love, love, is the only thing that mat­ters to me, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.” At the prompt­ing of an As­so­ci­ated Press re­porter, she sang the song at her post-vic­tory press con­fer­ence as audience mem­bers snapped their fin­gers.

Franklin won a $50,000 schol­ar­ship along with the crown in the first Miss Amer­ica pageant to be held with­out a swim­suit com­pe­ti­tion.

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