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’s School of the Arts. Shortly after, Nia was awarded a Kenan Fellowship at New York’s Lincoln Center Education and made the move to New York City.
During Nia’s college junior year, her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and she became his stem cell donor. This turn of events led Nia to the Miss America Organization. “I had to find a way to pay for myself to go to school and so I entered this competition and this organization and it became much more than just the scholarship money for me, it was also about the mentorship, leadership and sisterhood you find in this program.”
Nia was crowned Miss Five Boroughs at the age of 23, and then went on to win Miss New York 2018. And was awarded the job of Miss America 2019 on September 9, 2018.
Nia has been a teacher and music mentor, and has written over 100 songs, including one she began performing at age five. (The lyrics begin: “Love, love, love, love, love is the only thing that matters to me…”). For the Miss America 2019 competition, Franklin sang “Quando m’en Vo'” from Puccini’s La Boheme and wowed audiences and judges alike.
Throughout her year as Miss America Nia will be working on her social impact initiative ADVOCATING FOR THE ARTS. Nia speaks with students, school administrators, and teachers about the importance of arts education and why it is so vital to a well-rounded education.