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On A High Note with Miss America

Nia Franklin talks music, beauty, and femininity amidst fruity tartines and maple butter pancakes.

If there’s one thing we can say for sure, it’s that Nia Franklin is both beauty and grace. I had the honor of meeting with Miss America 2019 for breakfast at a cute, little restaurant on a beautiful summer day in Brooklyn. The classically trained opera singer won the title back in September 2018 (the first one to toss the swimsuit segment!), and has been since using her platform to advocate for the arts. Amidst fruity tartines and maple butter pancakes, we spoke about music, beauty, and femininity.

Your Music
How you first fell in love with it…

There are so many memories I have from when I was younger with music – everything from singing church choir to performing in my school talent shows. Having parents who love music brought that out in me, much more so than if I had parents who were not musically-inclined. It was always something I was drawn to.

Why opera…

I decided to study music composition in high school. I love creating and being able to write and notate music. Most schools in North Carolina require you to audition with an instrument, so I chose classical voice as my instrument. I feel like voice is my strongest and that’s why I decided to take classical lessons in voice. That’s kind of how it all started.

How you overcome creative block…

I think the biggest thing is just getting out of the same atmosphere. Do anything you can to get your mind off of the perfection you’re trying to create. If you aren’t getting it quite right, or you’re not getting the sound that you want, just continue to try new things and new techniques. This always helps me to eliminate any type of block that I’m having.

Your Day
Morning routine…

It’s hard to have a morning routine this year since I’ve been traveling so much, but before, my old routine would be: wake up for work, sometimes work out before work if I could, make a cup of tea, get dressed, and always listen to music.

Favorite way to stay in shape…

I love doing cardio!

Evening relaxation…

I’m such a movie junkie, mainly because I love the art behind it; I love the creativity. One of my goals is to become a film composer, so I’m always listening to the music and what songs are chosen. Music supervision for film is another goal of mine.

Your Beauty
Must-have skincare/body products…

I love Frank Body. I had eczema growing up, and sometimes I still get little flare-ups every now and then, so I find that the coffee scrub is really good for exfoliation. It’s also great for stretch marks, scarring, etc.

Favorite makeup products…

Right now, I’m really into mascara because I’ve been wearing false eyelashes a lot lately – not just for competitions/shows, but also just for day-to-day things. There’s almost like this pressure to look the same way you look on stage or in your headshot. It’s like those lashes are some kind of guard or armor. One of my favorite products that I’ve been wearing daily is Red Aspen mascara. I have very naturally curly lashes, and this mascara helps to pull them out!

Your Womanhood
Who is the woman you most admire?

My mom. She somehow managed to complete her education while juggling three kids and always being my biggest cheerleader. She was there for everything.

What does it mean to you to be an empowered woman today?

It’s a big responsibility. There are so many obstacles that can stand in the way of a woman’s dreams these days. Being empowered means standing up for and empowering myself, while also remaining humble at the same time. I think that’s a big component of being someone who’s empowering – they’re not cocky about it.

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

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