Almost a century of greatness to boast.
Miss America has been a staple in this great nation for almost 100 years. Which means almost 100 women have been given the honor of being crowned with the prestigious title of Miss America. A lot has changed since the pageant first began, but the tradition and legacy still remains the same. Women from all across the country compete annually to see who will be given the great honor.
In 2019, Nia Franklin was crowned Miss America, a historic honor in it’s own right, but made even more special considering that with Nia’s win marks the first time three black women are the titleholders of the three major pageants titles: Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. In fact, the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America only happened in 1983 when Vanessa Williams was crowned the winner.
Earlier this year, Nia even chatted with E! News to discuss her historic win and what the Miss America pageant means to her. It feels really great. It’s still crazy when people are like, ‘You’re a part of history,’ because it sounds so major,” she shared about the honor. “It’s just something that I didn’t expect. I mean, I obviously was Miss America. That’s a part of history. In 2021, it will be the 100th anniversary of the organization, so that’s in and of its self.”
Nia is totally aware that she’s following in the rich tradition of all the other amazing women who have gone before her and done some incredible work to help this country and the world. It’s far more than just pretty dresses and beautiful hair.
“I’m the 92nd Miss America due to like wars and things like that—throughout the years sometimes Miss Americas will be Miss America longer than just a year because they wouldn’t hold the competition—so I’m the 92nd Miss America, but this past year that I won was the 98th anniversary, so that was certainly historical,” she explained. “But then six or seven months after that, Cheslie [Kryst] and Kaliegh [Garris] win and then it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the first time in history that there have been three women of color holding these titles at the same time’, which I was not even aware that that hadn’t happened before. It just wasn’t something that I hadn’t thought of before.”
Click through our gallery here to see all the winners throughout the years.
Watch the 2019: What E! Year end-of-year special Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 10 p.m.! E! News returns Monday morning, Jan. 6 at 7 a.m.!