The first woman to win the Miss America crown without having to don a swimsuit says she's glad she didn't have to. Nia Imani Franklin, who won the title Sunday night in Atlantic City while competing as Miss New York, says the changes in the 98-year-old pageant are a welcome modernization. Meeting reporters soon after winning the crown, Franklin said she's glad there was no swimsuit competition because it enabled her to eat a little more, the AP reports. "These changes, I think, will be great for our organization," she said. "I've already seen so many young women reaching out to me personally as Miss New York asking how they can get involved because I think they feel more empowered that they don't have to do things such as walk in a swimsuit for a scholarship."
"And I'm happy that I didn't have to do so to win this title tonight because I'm more than just that," said Franklin, who won a $50,000 scholarship along with the crown. "And all these women onstage are more than just that." A classical vocalist whose pageant platform is "advocating for the arts," Franklin sang an operatic selection from the opera La Boheme on Sunday night. She said during her onstage interview that she was one of only a small number of minority students in school growing up, but used her love for music and the arts to grow and fit in. The decision to drop the swimsuit competition and replace it with onstage interviews created a good deal of controversy and criticism of current Miss America leadership. Minutes before the broadcast began, a comedian warming up the crowd mentioned there would be no swimsuit competition this year, and was met with loud boos.
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