"Swimsuits for scholarships": Miss America Nia Imani Franklin says she is happy she did not have to wear a swimsuit to win
New Miss America Nia Imani Franklin is glad that she did not have to wear a swimsuit to win the pageant
Nia Imani Franklin, who became the first woman to win the Miss America crown without having to sport a swimsuit, says that she is very glad that she did not have to.
Nia won the title in Atlantic City while she was competing as Miss New York and believes that the latest changes in the 98-year-old organization are a welcome one. After she won the crown, she spoke to reporters and shared that she was glad that there was no swimsuit competition as it enabled her to be able to eat a bit more.
Did you watch @MissAmericaOrg pageant last night? Kudos to Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin for killing it on stage! I was a fan of the changes albeit some 'girl power' moments felt a little forced. #IAmUp @News8Daybreak pic.twitter.com/A0jTFS9gRA— Kara Sewell (@KaraSewellTV) 10 September 2018
As reported by Fox News, "These changes, I think, will be great for our organization," Nia shared. "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," she continued. "And all these women onstage are more than just that". Franklin's victory has brought back successes that New York has had in the pageant in the past couple of years. Past winners include Mallory Hagan, Nina Davuluri and Kira Kazantsev who won the title from 2013-2015, all competing as Miss New York.
Franklin who is a classical vocalist sang an operatic selection from the opera 'La Boheme'. She had written her first song at the age of just 5-years-old and it goes something like "Love, love, love, love, is the only thing that matters to me, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey". With some help and prompting from reporters, she even sang the song at her post-victory press conference.
She won a $50,000 scholarship apart from winning the crown in the first Miss America pageant to be held without a swimsuit competition. Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras came in as the fourth runner-up, Miss Florida Taylor Tyson was the third runner-up, Miss Louisiana Holli' Conway was the second runner-up, and Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei was the first runner-up.
The decision to forgo the swimsuit competition was met with a lot of controversy and criticism of the present Miss America leadership. Just minutes before the broadcast started, a comedian warmed up the crowd and delivered the news that there would be no swimsuit competition this year.
The swimsuits were replaced with onstage interviews which got a lot of attention from the participants regarding president Donald Trump, NFL player protests amongst many other topics.
There is some behind-the-scenes drama among most of the Miss America State organizations who are demanding that the national chairwoman Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper resign. According to the former Miss America, Cara Mund, the two have bullied her and silenced her. Both the women flatly deny the claims made by Mund.
Carlson and Hopper were on a mission to transform the organization calling it "Miss America 2.0". The state pageant organizations were unhappy with how the swimsuit decision was reached and also with other aspects of Carlson and Hopper's performance, have asked the two to resign.