Life's a beach as winner sings virtues of no swimsuits

Central Station | 11 Sep 2018

The first woman to win the Miss America crown without having to don a swimsuit says she's glad she didn't have to.

Miss New York Nia Imani Franklin, who beat 51 competitors to win on Sunday night in Atlantic City, said the changes in the organization are a welcome modernization. She also received a US$50,000 (HK$390,000) scholarship with the title.

A classical vocalist whose pageant platform is "advocating for the arts," Franklin sang an operatic selection from the opera La Boheme.

The decision to drop the swimsuit competition created a good deal of controversy and criticism of current Miss America leadership. Minutes before the nationally televised broadcast began, a comedian warming up the crowd mentioned that there would be no swimsuit competition this year, and was met with loud boos in the hall.

The segment was replaced by onstage interviews, which have generated attention-grabbing remarks from contestants regarding President Donald Trump, and NFL player protests in an America riven by unprecedented political and racial divisions.

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