Asya Branch (@AsyaDanielle), the winner of Miss Mississippi 2018, has most recently won the Miss Mississippi USA pageant to become the first Black woman to ever win the crown in the organization’s 67-year history. She is set to represent Mississippi in the Miss USA 2020 pageant.
Aside from the beauty, Asya, a native of Booneville, MS, has got the brains too. She graduated from the University of Mississipi and also began taking courses at Harvard University when she was just 17 years old.
Asya hopes that with her new platform as the Miss Mississippi USA, she could inspire children of incarcerated parents. She had a firsthand experience of how challenging it was as she shared her father has been incarcerated for almost half of her life.
“I am a daughter, a sister, a scholar, a community and campus leader, a nanny for a special needs child and my dad is in jail. Talk about getting the attention of a classroom full of rowdy children,” Asya said, according to her biography on the Miss America website.
“The Miss America organization has empowered me to embrace my past while helping others achieve their brightest futures. I am grateful to have the opportunity to help others realize they are not defined or doomed by the actions of others but instead can achieve successes beyond their wildest imaginations,” she stated. “Our country cannot afford to ignore the aftermath of a family’s shared sentence.”
Asya will represent Mississippi in the Miss USA pageant. The winner of Miss USA will then represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.
This year has been a successful year for Black women in major beauty pageants. For the first time ever, all Black women won the Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA titles. Miss Tennessee also crowned its time winner.