Nia Franklin is Miss America 2019! Franklin, who represented New York, took home the crown during the 92nd annual competition on Sunday, September 9.
Carrie Ann Inaba and Ross Mathews hosted the event, which aired live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and saw Miss Connecticut Bridget Oei take runner-up while Miss Louisiana Holli’ Conway took third place.
Behind the judges’ panel for Miss America 2019 were former professional boxer Laila Ali, Wilson Phillips’ singer Carnie Wilson, former American Idol judge Randy Jackson, country music songstress Jessie James Decker, HBO TV personality Soledad O’Brien, radio host Bobby Bones and Drybar founder Alli Webb.
This year’s competition was vastly different from years past. The swimsuit portion of the night was nixed in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which led to the judging of the ladies with a focus on their interviews and what they stand for, opposed to how they look.
Former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, the newly minted chair of the Miss America Organization’s Board of Trustees, announced the change in June. “We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition,” she said during a Good Morning America appearance at the time. “We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance. That’s huge! And that means that we will no longer have a swimsuit competition.”
And that wasn’t the only change to the popular competition. Carlson explained that the evening gown portion would now allow the women to choose their form of attire, including pantsuits.
“We are no longer judging women when they come out in their chosen attire,” the former Fox News host explained. “It’s going to be what comes out of their mouth that we’re interested in when they talk about their social impact initiatives.”
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