Asya Branch made history in 2018 when she was the first African American crowned as Miss Mississippi. She went on to win the Miss USA title in 2020 and was the first woman from the Magnolia State to do so.
“Being able to make history twice was such a blessing. You know, I’m grateful to be able to have these experiences and these opportunities,” Branch told WLBT. “I’m just so grateful and I think everything happens for a reason so I’m hoping that I’m able to fulfill my purpose through this title and really make a lasting impact.”
Branch is currently in Hollywood, Florida preparing to compete against women from 74 countries around the world for the title of Miss Universe. The crown would mean not only making history for a third time, but would also allow to her continue her important social work.
Branch, the sixth of eight children in her family, has used her platform to advocate for prison reform, a particularly personal cause after having seen her father incarcerated for conspiracy to commit robbery and kidnapping when she was just 10 years old.
Although born in Detroit, Asya grew up in Booneville, Mississippi. After graduating from Booneville High School, Branch attended University of Mississippi in Oxford, where she studied integrated marketing communications with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in general business. She hopes to work for a public relations firm or a major corporation.
The Miss Universe competition will take place Sunday, May 16 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida at 7 p.m. CST.