This year's winner, Nia Franklin of New York was crowned Sunday night after a gruelling competition. The pageant was held at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nia began competing in pageants when her father had become ill and she needed to find a way to pay her way through college. She said that the pageants became more than just a way to get scholarship money. She found in the organization great sisterhood and mentorship and feels the leadership skills she learned has also helped her to enrich the lives of others. Originally from North Carolina, Ms. Franklin graduated from college at East Carolina University with a major in classical voice and continued her education to finish a Masters Degree in music competition from the University of North Carolina's School of Arts. Watch her inspiring victory interview below.
Held for the first time in 1921, the Miss America pageant had always included a swimsuit competition. In response to the widely changing views on the unacceptability of the objectification of women, it was dropped from the event this year, likely never to return. To see the requirements for competing visit: http://missamerica.org/sign-up/