It’s only been a few days since Nia Franklin traded her Miss New York crown for the coveted Miss America title, but there’s already some outrage about her big win.
After learning that the 25-year-old pageant winner is a native of North Carolina and only moved to the Big Apple last year, some New Yorkers are upset that she was allowed to represent the state in the beauty competition.
‘If you are subletting you don’t know the first thing about living in New York,’ Brooklyn hairstylist Jenna Pitocco told the New York Post. ‘If you have only been here for like five minutes, you don’t know s***.’
Twitter user Marcia Lorraine posted: ‘Is Nia Franklin from New York or Winston cause I’m confused….’
A North Carolina radio host didn’t seem fazed that Franklin was representing the Big Apple.
‘Dear New York, you’re welcome. Nia Franklin technically belongs to North Carolina, so we’ll just take credit for molding the new #MissAmerica,’ Ramona Holloway tweeted.
Franklin was born in Winston-Salem and remained in North Carolina through college. She relocated to Brooklyn after receiving the Kenan Fellowship for New York’s Lincoln Center.
She won the Miss New York 2018 title in January.
During the Miss America competition on Sunday, Franklin was quick to show her support for the Big Apple, saying: ‘I have New York grit. As a New Yorker, I understand what it means to work hard’.
The beauty queen reiterated those sentiments during an interview on Monday with the Post. While Franklin understands why some people may be upset she’s not a native New Yorker, the classically trained opera singer said she’s proud to represent the state.
‘Even though I wasn’t born in New York, I feel like I’ve always had grit. Moving to New York right after receiving my master’s degree really solidified the grit that I have,’ she said.
‘People always say the first year in New York is the hardest. I celebrated my (first) anniversary June 26 and I’m really proud of that.’
Franklin moved to Brooklyn in June 2017 and went on to win Miss Five Boroughs before becoming Miss New York.
According to Miss America’s residency rules, contestants must reside, work or attend school in a state for at least six months before they can represent it.
Mallory Hagan, an Alabama native who won Miss America 2013 as Miss New York, said the lax residency rules are designed to help young women who want to expand their horizons and isn’t necessarily about growing up in the state the competitor represents.
‘The rules about residency and work requirements are meant specifically for young women who may go out of state for college or move for a job,’ she said.
Judith Ann Graham, who was Miss New York in 1972, said Franklin rose to the occasion to represent New York in the competition.
‘New York is edgier – and we have the best of pretty much everybody. But it’s not every Miss New York that can step into those shoes. Nia happens to be one of them,’ she said.
Since moving to New York, Franklin has been heavily involved in different charities. The 25-year-old founded a music group at Manhattan’s Success Academy and has backed music programs in New York public schools. Franklin is also a member of Sing for Hope, a New York City nonprofit that provides resource for New York artists who want to use their art give back to their community.