Newly crowned Miss America says living in Brooklyn gave her edge in competition

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Newly crowned Miss America says living in Brooklyn gave her edge in competition
Sandy Kenyon reports on the new Miss America.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Two days after winning, Nia Franklin, who lives in Clinton Hill, says it hasn't quite sunk in yet that she is the new Miss America.

Franklin said her two roommates are "super stoked" and both were there in Atlantic City on Sunday night to help her celebrate.

She may have grown up in North Carolina, but she says living in Brooklyn gave her an edge in this competition.

"Living here has given me even more of a grit and a sense of self, and I'm really excited about that, and I think that's what's going to help me and have a wonderful year as Miss America," Franklin said.

Franklin is the first winner since former Miss America Gretchen Carlson took over leadership and made big changes like eliminating the swimsuit competition.

"It was not really missed," she told me in an interview at WABC-TV. "I have to say during that week, it was not even on my mind, and that was a good thing. I was able to focus more on what i wanted the world to know."

Franklin is a composer who sang opera in the talent portion of the competition because she, "wanted little girls to know, little boys to know that singing opera is cool. You don't have to be a nerd. It's not lame to sing or play classical music. And, also I wanted to represent for African-American women and men. Some people see it as a stereotype that we don't sing classically."

Last year's winner Cara Mund took her final walk on the show just days after accusing Miss America's management of "bullying" her -- charges organizers insist are false.

Pressed to comment, Franklin remained poised and said, "This is a new era. This is my year, and I can say that that hasn't happened to me, and I would hate that to happen to anyone, but I'm just excited about the fresh start, and to really make the most of my year."

For Franklin, a visit to the WABC studio gave her pause for reflection because she spent a year as a Kenan Fellow across the street at Lincoln Center.

"I would walk past ABC all the time, right here on Columbus, and now I'm actually inside the building, and I never dreamed or thought I'd be inside so it's really, really crazy and surreal," she said.

Franklin's strength of character is found in what she did for her father. She donated stem cells from her body to help him fight cancer. That was five years ago and he is now cancer-free.


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