Nia Imani Franklin, formerly known as Miss New York, was crowned the new Miss America at the 92nd annual pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
New York has now made history as the state with the most Miss America winners—with a total of seven, including Billboard charting artist #VanessaWilliams, who was crowned in 1983.
“It took a lot of perseverance to get here,” Franklin said after her win. “I want to thank my beautiful family, my mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer.”
During the competition, Franklin described how music helped her find her identity.
“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.”
An opera singer and native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Franklin 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 have New York grit,” She said during the competition. “As a New Yorker, I understand what it means to work hard.”
During her tenure as Miss America, Franklin plans to advocate for the arts such as music, dance, and theater.