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Miss Mississippi Asya Branch Reiterates Platform During Miss America Competition Prep

By Brian Barisa
HottyToddy.com contributor

Asya Branch, Miss Mississippi, is in Atlantic City this week preparing for the competition to become the next Miss America. She says her platform—helping children with incarcerated parents— is something that hits very close to home for her.

Matt Boyd Photography.

“My platform could have been anything under the sun,” Branch said. “It is more beneficial when it is something that you can relate to. I chose my platform—empowering children of incarcerated parents—because my father has been incarcerated for half of my life.”

Her father, Anthony Branch, plead guilty to two counts of kidnapping, burglary, larceny of a dwelling, and one count of armed robbery in 2012, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Since the age of ten, she has grown up with only her mother and older brothers. Branch said living without her father was a challenge.

“It was different. I was definitely a daddy’s girl and all the time I was glued to his hip. It was a huge change for me,” she said.

Branch has kept in touch with her father only through letters and pictures, and only recently saw him for the first time in three years.

“My dad is my biggest fan. My dad is my biggest supporter. When he gets out, we are going to watch the video of me winning Miss Mississippi together,” she said.

To help advance her platform Branch developed “Love Letters,” a program that donates paper, envelopes, and stamps to incarcerated parents to help them reach out to their children. Most recently, she has been visiting schools around the state to talk to children about her experience and to encourage them to be persistent.

“I want tell them that no dream is impossible,” Branch said. “You have to use your situation to strengthen you, and you just have to learn from it and move forward.”

Live coverage of the Miss America competition will be broadcasted Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. on ABC. If Branch wins, she will get a $50,000 scholarship.

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