Nia Franklin
2018 Military Bowl - Nia Franklin.jpg
Franklin at the 2018 Military Bowl
Nia Imani Franklin

(1993-07-27) July 27, 1993 (age 28)
EducationEast Carolina University (BM)
University of North Carolina School of the Arts (MM)
Height1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
TitleMiss Five Boroughs 2018
Miss New York 2018
Miss America 2019
TermSeptember 9, 2018 – December 19, 2019
PredecessorCara Mund
SuccessorCamille Schrier

Nia Imani Franklin (born July 27, 1993) is an American composer and beauty pageant titleholder. In June 2018, she was crowned Miss New York 2018.[1] On September 9, 2018, she was crowned Miss America 2019 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, by the outgoing Miss America 2018, Cara Mund.[2]

With her win, 2019 became the first year that all four major United States-based pageants were won by black women; other titleholders were Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa (as Miss Universe 2019), Kaliegh Garris (as Miss Teen USA 2019), and Cheslie Kryst (as Miss USA 2019).[3][4][5][6]

Early life and education

Franklin was born on July 27, 1993. She is the oldest daughter born to James and Kristy Franklin.[7] She has two younger siblings; a sister, Bailey, and brother, J.D.[8]

Franklin graduated from North Davidson High School in Welcome, North Carolina, in 2011. She then attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and graduated with a degree in music composition in 2015.[8] During her freshman year at East Carolina University, Franklin's father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[7][9] Years later, her father relapsed twice and required a stem cell transplant.[10] Franklin was found to be a match and then donated her stem cells, ultimately leading to her father's remission.[9][10]

After graduating from East Carolina, she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and earned her Master of Music in 2017 also in music composition.[8] She composed a chamber opera titled King Solomon that premiered in 2015.[11] Franklin moved to New York City after being selected as a 2017 William R. Kenan Jr. fellow with the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' education division.[12][13]

Philanthropy and social activism

As a student at UNCSA, Franklin was a member of ArtistCorps, an AmeriCorps program that invites well-known artists into public schools and community centers to work with students with decreased access to arts programming.[10][14] After relocating to New York, Franklin worked closely with Success Academy Charter Schools, founding a music club for students, and served as a cultural partner with the NYC-based non-profit organization, Sing For Hope.[13][15]


Early pageantry

While a student at East Carolina University, Franklin was crowned Miss Black and Gold at a scholarship pageant sponsored by the university's Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[7] She also competed in the Miss North Carolina organization in 2016 and 2017.[14] At both competitions, Franklin placed among the top 10 finalists and won the preliminary talent award.[16]

Miss New York 2018

In June 2018, Franklin competed as Miss Five Boroughs at the Miss New York 2018 pageant.[17] She went on to win both talent and swimsuit preliminary awards, as well as the overall interview award. Ultimately, she was crowned Miss New York 2018 on June 30, 2018, at Shea's Theatre in Buffalo, New York.[13][17]

Miss America 2019

Franklin represented New York at the Miss America 2019 competition held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on September 9, 2018, with a platform of "Advocating for the Arts."[1]

For the talent portion, she sang "Quando m'en vò" from the opera La bohème.[18][19] In the final round of the competition, Franklin was asked how being Miss New York prepared her for her being Miss America by judge Laila Ali. In the allotted 20 seconds, she told about how she had to move many times in New York and deal with high rent, and how she had to work hard in her life. She said, "I have New York grit. ... 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.".[19]

She bested first runner-up, Miss Connecticut 2018, Bridget Oei, for the 2019 Miss America title and was crowned by Miss America 2018, Cara Mund, on September 9, 2018.[20] Along with the title of Miss America, Franklin also won a $50,000 scholarship. Franklin is the seventh Miss New York to win the Miss America title.


  1. ^ a b Rees, Alex (September 9, 2018). "Miss New York, Nia Franklin, Wins Miss America 2019". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  2. ^ Stone, Natalie (September 9, 2018). "Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin Crowned Miss America 2019". People. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  3. ^ Harmata, Claudia (December 10, 2019). "Making History: Current Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Teen USA Are All Black Women". People. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  4. ^ Ruiz-Grossman, Sarah (May 3, 2019). "Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America Are All Black Women For First Time In Pageant History". Huffington Post.
  5. ^ Peck, Patrice (May 3, 2019). "Miss America, Miss USA, And Miss Teen USA Are All Black Women, And I'm All Like "OKAY LADIES, NOW LET'S GET IN FORMATION!"". Buzzfeed.
  6. ^ Diaz, Thatiana (May 3, 2019). "3 Black Women Just Made Pageant History — & The Internet Is Celebrating". Refinery29.
  7. ^ a b c Herron, Arika (June 18, 2016). "Winston-Salem native to compete in Miss North Carolina pageant". Winston-Salem Journal.
  8. ^ a b c Serpico, Erin (September 8, 2018). "Miss New York crowned Miss America 2019 in Atlantic City". Press of Atlantic City.
  9. ^ a b Rogo, Paula (September 10, 2018). "5 Things To Know About 2019 Miss America Winner Nia Imani Franklin". Essence.
  10. ^ a b c Perry, Wayne (September 10, 2018). "Former county resident wins Miss America title". The-Dispatch.
  11. ^ Rose, Patrick F. (April 24, 2015). "Honored and excited to be a part of this! If you're not doing anything tonight, stop by the recital hall tonight at 8:30 pm to see Nia Imani Franklin's senior composition recital, which will feature the World Premiere of her entirely original chamber opera, "King Solomon!" Come out to support the performers, and most importantly, Nia and the bright future ahead of her!". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  12. ^ "2017 Kenan Institute fellowship and internship award recipients". Thomas S. Kenan Institute of the Arts.
  13. ^ a b c Benanti, Carol Ann (July 6, 2018). "ICYMI: Miss Five Boroughs crowned Miss New York at state pageant". SI Live.
  14. ^ a b Whitaker, Lauren (September 4, 2018). "Alumna to compete for Miss America crown on Sunday". UNSCA.
  15. ^ Charles, Marissa (September 9, 2018). "Nia Imani Franklin: 5 Things To Know About The Winner Of Miss America 2019". HollywoodLife.
  16. ^ Vick, Thomas (June 25, 2016). "McKenzie Faggart Crowned Miss NC 2016". Goldsboro Daily News.
  17. ^ a b "Winston-Salem native wins Miss New York". Winston-Salem Journal. June 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Drabble, Jenny (September 9, 2018). "Winston-Salem native Nia Franklin wins Miss America pageant". Winston-Salem Journal.
  19. ^ a b Jensen, Erin (September 9, 2018). "Miss America 2019: Miss New York Nia Franklin is crowned the winner". USA TODAY.
  20. ^ Melas, Chloe (September 10, 2018). "Miss America 2019 is Nia Franklin". CNN.
Awards and achievements Preceded byCara Mund Miss America 2019 Succeeded byCamille Schrier Preceded byGabrielle Walter Miss New York 2018 Succeeded byRahmeka Cox