By NICOLE PELLETIERE via GMA
Miss America Nia Franklin is speaking out on becoming the first winner in the competition’s nearly 100-year run to be crowned without wearing a swimsuit.
Franklin, 24, a native of Brooklyn, New York, beat out 50 other hopefuls at the rebooted competition Sunday night.
“I’m a part of history,” Franklin said today on “Good Morning America.” “Miss America started off as a swimsuit competition, but I think it’s important that we’re evolving and I’m so excited to be a part of the new era.”
Franklin wowed judges when she performed an opera song during the talent portion of the competition. Franklin said that she wanted to promote diversity, especially within the arts.
“I’m the first Miss America 2.0 and I really want to do the most that I can this year to really have a firm foundation going forward,” she said.
For the first time, the revamped Miss America pageant took place sans its iconic swimsuit and evening gown competitions.
Instead, the emphasis was on the contestants’ ability to answer questions and they were judged based on their passion, intelligence and overall understanding of the role of Miss America.
Franklin said she had a lot of fun being in the competition since there was less pressure put on the candidates’ physical appearance.
“It was about what you have in your mind and in your heart,” she noted.
ABC News’ Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.