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Nia Franklin beat a field of 51 contestants to win the 98th Miss America pageant, claiming the crown and a $50,000 scholarship.
This year marked the first without a swimsuit competition. It was replaced with onstage interviews.
Franklin praised the move in an interview after her win.
“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.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.