Franklin is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Growing up, she had a passion for the arts that follows her to this day. She graduated from North Davidson High School in 2011.
Afterwards, Franklin took her love of the arts to East Carolina University where she graduated with her Bachelor's in music composition in 2015. She continued her studies at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she graduated in 2017 with a Masters in music composition.
While attending the University of North Carolina, Franklin started competing in the Miss North Carolina Organization. She entered her first local, the 2016 Miss Metrolina Pageant. While she did not place, she did win the Talent Award. She decided to try again at her second local title, Miss Thomasville 2016. She placed as first runner-up and won the Talent and Swimsuit Awards.
Franklin secured her first local title later that season. She won the title of Miss Capital City 2016 along with the Talent and Swimsuit Awards. She went on to compete for the first time at Miss North Carolina 2016. She placed in the Top 10 as well as winning a Preliminary Talent Award and the Beth Stovall Music Scholarship.
Motivated by her strong performance, Franklin returned to compete for Miss North Carolina 2017 as Miss Durham. She won her second Preliminary Talent Award and made the Top 15.
Franklin relocated to from North Carolina to Brooklyn, New York after she was selected from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for the Kenan Fellow Program at Lincoln Center Education located in Manhattan.
Determined to achieve her dream of walking on the Miss America stage, Franklin continued to compete in New York. She won the local title of Miss Five Boroughs 2018 and went on to compete at Miss New York 2018. There, she earned her third consecutive Preliminary Talent Award. She also won a Preliminary Swimsuit Award and Interview Award.
Franklin's dream came true on June 30, 2018 when she was crowned Miss New York 2018 at the Shea Stadium located in Buffalo, New York. She won the title of Miss America 2019 on September 9, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey!
On May 7, 2019, Franklin appeared on CBS with Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst and Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaliegh Garristo talk about the first time the titles of Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America were held by African American women.