Miss Mississippi USA, Asya Danielle Branch, edged out 50 other contestants to be crowned Miss USA 2020 in a national competition held on Monday, November 9 at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.
The 22-year-old entrepreneur from Booneville has attended the University of Mississippi where she studied journalism. She made history as the first-ever black woman from her state to win Miss USA.
For her final statement on gun laws, she pushed for training and safety course requirements before anyone can be allowed to purchase a gun or receive a permit.
“I think it’s important that we not ban guns because obviously, people will find a way to get what they want anyway, but I think it’s our second amendment right and we just need more safety surrounding that,” she said.
Asya would describe herself as adventurous, compassionate, and a go-getter. She proudly owns a cosmetic line called Branch Beauty that started as a make up obsession and turned into a lucrative business.
The 69th Miss USA was hosted by Akbar Gbaja-Biamila and Allie LaForce, while last year’s winner, Cheslie Kryst, and Christian Murphy served as backstage commentators.
Two former titleholders, Lynnette Cole (Miss USA 2000 from Tennessee) and Kimberly Pressler (Miss USA 1999 from New York) were among the distinguished all-women panel of judges.
Kim Layne of Idaho was proclaimed first runner-up while Oklahoma’s Mariah Jane Davis became the second runner-up. Alexis Lete of Indiana and Kelly Hutchinson of Alabama were the third and fourth runners-up, respectively.
Miss California USA, Allyshia Gupta, Miss Hawaii USA, Samantha Neyland, Miss Illinois USA, Olivia Pura, Miss New Jersey USA, Gina Mellish, and Miss New York USA, Andreia Gibau completed the Top 10.
District of Columbia’s Cierra Jackson, Georgia’s Alyssa Beasley, Louisiana’s Mariah Clayton, Missouri’s Megan Renee Kelly, Nevada’s Victoria Olona, and Ohio’s Sthephanie Miranda were the rest of the Top 16.
Miss USA 2020 has unveiled the new crown called “Power of Positivity” crafted by world-renowned jeweler Mouawad. The crown’s centerpieces, five blue tanzanite gemstones haloed by diamonds and complemented by ruby, blue sapphire, and tanzanite, shimmer with an effervescence that evokes positivity.
The new Miss USA will represent the United States of America at the 69th Miss Universe pageant to be held in the first quarter of 2021.
Miss USA 2020: Mississippi – Asya Branch
1st Runner-Up: Idaho – Kim Layne
2nd Runner-Up: Oklahoma – Mariah Jane Davis
3rd Runner-Up: Indiana – Alexis Lete
4th Runner-Up: Alabama – Kelly Hutchinson
California – Allyshia Gupta
Hawaii – Samantha Neyland
Illinois – Olivia Pura
New Jersey – Gina Mellish
New York – Andreia Gibau
District of Columbia – Cierra Jackson
Georgia – Alyssa Beasley
Louisiana – Mariah Clayton
Missouri – Megan Renee Kelly
Nevada – Victoria Olona
Ohio – Sthephanie Miranda
Photos: Miss Universe Organization