08:07 GMT01 March 2021
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    In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the contest has undergone a number of changes, with this year’s event being held without a swimsuit competition for the first time in the beauty pageant’s history.

    On Sunday night, Nia Franklin, a 25-year-old contestant from New York, was crowned Miss America 2019, having edged out 50 competitors in Atlantic City.

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    Franklin graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she majored in music composition, and she dazzled the contest’s jury with her voice, singing “Quando m’en vo’” from the opera “La Boheme” for the talent competition.

    During the competition she explained how being Miss New York had helped prepare her to be Miss America.

    “I have New York grit. […] And also, as a New Yorker, I understand what it takes to work hard. 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."

    The lion’s share of social media users were fascinated by Franklin’s performance and speech:

    The organization of this year’s event went through a couple of changes in light of the anti-harassment movement, #MeToo, among which was the suspension of the swimsuit competition for the first time in the pageant’s nearly century-old history.

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    Instead, the organizers gave the candidates more time to talk onstage about themselves, their view and the way they see themselves doing the job of Miss America.

    The change, however, disappointed many users, who believe that swimsuit competition is an integral part of the annual contest:

    Reigning Miss USA Cara Mund, who crowned Franklin, has been embroiled in the organization’s latest controversy. Last month she lashed out at Miss America’s CEO, Regina Hopper, and chair, Gretchen Carlson, claiming that they had “silenced me, reduced me, marginalized me, and essentially erased me in my role as Miss America in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis.”

    "After a while, the patterns have clearly emerged, and the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive-aggressive behavior, belittlement and outright exclusion has taken a serious toll,” she wrote in a letter.

    Carlson denied her allegations in a statement on Twitter, saying that she was “surprised and saddened beyond words by the letter.”

    With the exception of crowning Franklin, Mund was visibly absent from most of the show.

    talent, opera, song, bikini, swimsuit, competition, contest, beauty pageant, Pageant, miss, Miss America, Miss America, New York, US
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