NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – America’s top beauty pageants have made history.
For the first time, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America all crowned black women as their winners.
Nia Franklin, representing New York, is the reigning Miss America 2019.
Cheslie Kryst was named Miss USA 2019 last week, and Kaleigh Garris, of Connecticut, became Miss Teen USA 2019 last month.
“I am so proud, I’m actually honored as well. This is something that I couldn’t have planned myself,” Franklin told CBSN New York’s Alex Denis. “So just to have this moment is so inspirational to not only me but I think to young women across the world that we made this history that we didn’t even know we were making at the time.”
Franklin said Kryst is a longtime friend and her attorney. She met Garris for the first time on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday.
“Cheslie was someone that I looked up to when I first started competing. She was an outgoing titleholder when I was competing for her local title. She continued to motivate me to try, to keep going for the state title,” Franklin said. “So to now have her joining me on this national level is just so incredible, and having Kaleigh as well. I think it sends a message to people that you can be whatever you want.”
Franklin went on to discuss the role of racism in the pageant industry and what she’s gained from winning.