beauty pageants

Mississippi’s Asya Branch is Miss USA 2020, crowned in Memphis, Tennessee

Asya Danielle Branch, 22, of Booneville, Mississippi was crowned Miss USA 2020 on November 9, 2020. This makes her the representative of the United States to Miss Universe 2020.

It was the second time Brach represented Mississippi in a national beauty pageant. She competed in Miss America 2019 but did not place although she was second runner-up in the Quality of Life awards of the competition.

Branch is a senior at the University of Mississippi where she is studying broadcast journalism. She is the first African-American woman to win Miss Mississippi USA and the first woman from Mississippi to win Miss USA.

After graduating from the University of Mississippi, Branch plans to pursue a law degree. She wants to empower children of incarcerated parents like herself.

The Miss USA 2020 coronation night took place at the Exhibition Centre and the Soundstage at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It was hosted by “American Ninja Warrior” commentator Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, 41, and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce, 31.

Branch inherited the crown from Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, 29. The latter and Christian Murphy served as backstage commentators during the coronation night, which was broadcast on FYI.

The event featured a performance by “American Idol” Season 10 second runner-up Haley Reinhart, 30. Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, 43, of New York and Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole, 42, of Tennessee served as judges along with businesswoman and hairstylist Carolyn Aronson, 53, Fox Nation journalist and media personality Abby Hornacek, 26, motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, 64, and businesswoman and social media personality Susan Yara, 39.

Runner-up to Branch was Kim Layne, 26, of Nampa, Idaho. Mariah Jane Davis, 24, of Norman, Oklahoma, Alexis Lete, 24, of New Albany, Indiana and Kelly Hutchinson, 23, of Auburn, Alabama were the respective second, third and fourth runners-up.

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