Asya Branch, an understudy at the University of Mississippi, set various firsts in her home state when she won the Miss USA 2020 title on Monday night at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
The 22-year-old left a mark on the world as the first Black lady to be delegated Miss Mississippi USA and Monday night’s success was the first run through a Mississippi contender won the general title.
“I couldn’t believe that my name had been called,” Branch, a native of Booneville, said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “I’m the first Miss Mississippi to have been crowned Miss USA and so, honestly I was just honored and overwhelmed and completely overjoyed.”
Branch’s notable success comes only one year after Black ladies left a mark on the world in the exhibition world, clearing all the top titles. In 2019, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss Universe and Miss World delegated Black ladies as victors simultaneously.
The historic group of Black ladies included Toni-Ann Singh, who was delegated as Miss World, alongside 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin and 2019 Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.
It was a historic move from past events when a few rivalries didn’t permit ladies of shading to partake in its earliest years. The Miss America event, for example, didn’t permit Black contenders for the initial 30 years of its reality. Presently, Black ladies have won significant rivalries and are utilizing their foundation to change the world.
Branch talked about how she intends to handle criminal justice and prison change during her tenure as Miss USA 2020. In a meeting with Miss Mississippi USA before the opposition, Branch said her dad’s imprisonment for a very long time enlivened her to advocate for change.
“I will continue fighting for criminal justice and prison reform; that’s something that is near and dear to my heart,” Branch said on “GMA.” “I hope to continue making change within throughout my reign.”
The recently crowned Miss USA contended close by challengers from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Each experienced a progression of starter adjusts, including bathing suit, recently recorded virtual meetings and the night outfit rivalry. In the last round, Branch proceeded to address hard-hitting inquiries concerning gun laws.
“I think it’s important that we not ban guns because obviously people will find a way to get what they want anyways,” said Branch in her final statement. “But I think it’s our Second Amendment right and we just need more safety surrounding that.”
The competition was initially planned to occur in spring, however it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Branch is joined by Miss Teen USA 2020 Ki’ilani Arruda, the second Hawaiian lady to win the national teen pageant.