Miss New York Nia Franklin is Crowned Miss America 2019

Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin prays as she waits for the tiara to be put on her by outgoing Miss America Cara Mund on stage in Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S., September 9, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri – RC1E8E40BC80

And the crown goes to… Miss New York Nia Franklin.

She edged out her 50 fellow competitors Sunday night in Atlantic City.

After being crowned, Franklin expressed her gratitude.

“I’m feeling really blessed right now,” she said. “I want to thank God because without him I wouldn’t be standing here. It took a lot of perseverance to get here, and I just want to thank my beautiful family for coming, my mom and my dad, who’s a survivor of cancer, and I love him so much. I want to thank all of my sisters behind me. We’ve had a wonderful week together, and I love each and every one of you.”

During the competition, Franklin offered herself as an example when asked how she would promote a healthy body image.

“I would start by sharing my story,” she said. “I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only 5 percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin.

“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,” she continued, “and that’s what I would encourage women to do – young girls to do is find who they are.”

She also explained how being Miss New York prepared her for her next job as Miss America.

“I have New York grit,” said Franklin. “I have moved over five times because of subletting in New York. It can be a little difficult because of the pricey rent, but I’ve overcome that. And also, as a New Yorker, I understand what it takes to work hard. I came up on a Lincoln Center fellowship because I’m an artist, and I’m really excited to just share my platform my social impact advocating for the arts and make sure all students have access to a quality education.”

For her talent, Franklin sang “Quando m’en vo’ ” from the opera “La Boheme,” dazzling Twitter with her vocal talent and a gleaming, strapless dress.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Erin Jensen