Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and lived in the state through graduate school. She earned an undergraduate degree in music composition from East Carolina University, and a master’s in music composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Shortly after, Ms. Franklin was awarded a Kenan Fellowship at New York’s Lincoln Center Education and moved to New York City.
During Ms. Franklin’s freshman year in college, her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and she became his stem cell donor. This led her to the Miss America Organization. She had to find a way to pay for school, so she entered the competition, but the experience ended up becoming more than just about winning the scholarship money — the experience also offered important lessons about mentorship, leadership, and sisterhood.
Ms. Franklin was crowned Miss Five Boroughs at the age of 24, went on to win Miss New York 2018, and was awarded the job of Miss America 2019 on September 9, 2018.
She has been a teacher and music mentor, and has composed more than 100 works, including one she began performing at age five. For the Miss America 2019 competition, Ms. Franklin sang Quando m’en vo’ from Puccini’s La Boheme.
Throughout her year as Miss America, Nia Franklin is working on her social impact initiative ADVOCATING FOR THE ARTS. She speaks with students, school administrators, and teachers about the importance of arts education and why it is so vital to a well-rounded education.