AceShowbiz - Meet the new Miss USA, Asya Branch! The Booneville native, who represented Mississippi in the annual competition, has been crowned as Miss USA 2020 during a ceremony which aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Monday, November 9.
Asya, a 22-year-old who is currently pursuing her Integrated Marketing Communications degree with an emphasis in Public Relations and minor in General Business at the University of Mississippi, was previously the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA. Her win also marked the first time a Mississippi contestant has won the title.
In her final statement in the contest, Asya shared her take on gun laws. "As someone who grew up in a home with guns, I learned at an early age how to load, how to fire and gun safety," she said. "And, I think that education should be available to everyone. I believe that we should require people to pass training and safety courses before they're allowed to purchase a gun and before receiving a permit."
"I think it's important that we not ban guns because obviously people will find a way to get what they want anyways," she continued. "But I think it's our Second Amendment right and we just need more safety surrounding that."
Asya beat out 50 other contestants to take over the crown from Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst. Miss Idaho USA, Kim Layne, was named first runner-up, while Miss Oklahoma USA, Mariah Jane Davis, became second runner-up.
The Monday night pageant was initially scheduled to take place in spring, but got postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and "American Ninja Warrior" co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player, were hosting the contest.
Two days before, Hawaii native Ki'ilani Arruda was crowned Miss Teen USA 2020 at the same venue.