Carli holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Theatre Arts from Appalachian State University where she also served as Co-Captain of their Dance Team. Carli attributes her debt-free education to the scholarship opportunities provided by the Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant, Miss North Carolina and Miss America organizations where she had held the titles of Miss Wilmington, Miss Greater Sampson County, Miss Cleveland, and ultimately, Miss North Carolina 2021. As Miss NC, she competed at the 100th Anniversary Miss America Competition where she advocated for the needs of performing arts communities with her social impact initiative, Carolina Cares. With Carolina Cares, and her Blue Bucket Brigade, she raised over $30,000 for community arts programs across North Carolina & beyond! She is currently living in Wilmington, where she is on staff at American Leadership Academy- Coastal, onstage at Thalian Hall, and loving her new fur-baby, Gus. She is thrilled to be back celebrating the 76th Azalea Festival which is near and dear to her heart. As a third generation Wilmingtonian, she has served on the Azalea Festival Youth Committee, Princess Court, Queen’s Court, was an Invited Guest as Miss NC, and now Azalea Queen. From a little girl watching the parade street side, to participating in an array of NCAF events, Carli is embracing this full circle moment as your Queen Azalea and is honored to represent the Festival’s history & future!
Nia Imani Franklin is a composer, actress, and singer who has had her music performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Friction Quartet, and many others. Nia also became the Composer in Residence at Festival Napa Valley in 2021, where she premiered several works and was awarded the Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Classical Music. After concluding her Lincoln Center fellowship in New York City, she earned the jobs of Miss New York 2018 and Miss America 2019. She recently released her EP, “Extended,” which featured her RnB songs, and her viral orchestra piece, “Chrysalis Extended.”
Nia holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition and Theory from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, as well as a master’s degree in Music Composition from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. In 2019, she founded Compose Her – an initiative that seeks to empower women in music.