LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A New Albany native and a Lexington native will take the national stage on Thursday to try to become the next Miss America.

Miss Indiana 2019, Tiarra Taylor, is a New Albany native and currently attends Indiana State University, where she majors in Communication. 

Miss Kentucky 2019, Alex Francke, is a Lexington native and graduate of the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics where she majored in Business Management. 

Miss America is no longer referred to as a "pageant" by its organizers. This year's competition is being dubbed "Miss America 2.0." It's being held for the first time in Connecticut, according to the Associated Press.

For the second year in a row, the event will not include a swimsuit or evening gown competition as organizers stress that participants are not judged on outward physical appearance. Instead, those events were replaced by onstage interviews where the women can discuss their personal achievements, life goals, talents and a planned "social impact initiative."

Francke's social impact initiative is Adopt an Art, which is a nonprofit she started in 2014. Adopt an Art provides public schools and community programs in Kentucky with arts lessons and classes for free. 

Taylor's social impact initiative is to bring advantages to disadvantaged youth and hopes to one day work for a nonprofit.

Taylor and Francke are among 51 women, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia, who have spent the past week competing in different events as part of the competition.

The pageant is being held at the Mohegan Sun in Mystic Country, Connecticut. It will air Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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