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UM Student First African American to Win Miss Mississippi USA

By Hannah Johnson
Hottytoddy.com intern

Asya Branch, a Booneville native and Ole Miss student, won the title of Miss Mississippi USA on Monday, Oct. 28 as she became the first African American woman to wear the crown. The statewide competition took place in Tunica. 

Branch will compete at the televised national level competition in the spring.

Asya Branch waves to the crowd after being crowned Miss Mississippi USA. Photo provided.

“It is truly an honor,” she said, of being the first African American woman to obtain the crown. “I never thought that in my lifetime I would be a ‘first’ when it comes to race.”

She hopes that her accomplishment will inspire others to chase their goals, she said.

“Even if the person before them doesn’t look like them.”

She feels as though there is more to a person, and this competition, than the color of their skin. She believes that what is important is “who you are, what you can offer, your capabilities and so much more.”

“I’m honored to have been able to make history and have the opportunity to represent Mississippi at the national competition,” she said.

As for the title, it provides her with an outlet to reach a broader audience and share her story and her message.

The story behind her platform—empowering children of incarcerated parents—began at an early age. She had everything she ever wanted until her father was arrested while she was in middle school. She said she was lost, hurt and confused about why her “best friend” and “hero” was taken away from her. Her family not only suffered emotionally but financially, as well. She worked many jobs to be able to fund her pageantry journey and has built this dream from the ground up, she said.

“I hope to encourage individuals across the state to never give up on their dreams, no matter what hardships they face,” she said.

In Branch’s life, pageants have helped her to improve her life in so many areas.

“I’ve improved in my interview skills, public speaking skills, presentation, confidence and so much more,” she said. “You learn so much about yourself and your capabilities throughout the pageant journey.”

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