DeKalb, IL — Asya Branch is the first Black woman to win Miss Mississippi USA, and now she’s adding another accomplishment to her list after being crowned Miss USA earlier this week.
The 22-year-old is a Booneville native and a student at the University of Mississippi. Her achievement marks the first time a Mississippi contestant has won the title.
“I'm grateful to have been able to make history twice throughout my reign and am excited to be representing the country,” Branch said, according to Glamour. “You don't have to look like the person that came before you to accomplish a goal. Anything is attainable.”
In her final statement during the contest, she touched on gun laws within the country. Branch believes that we shouldn’t ban guns because people will always find access to them and it’s our Second Amendment right.
"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," Branch 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."
Branch isn’t the only historic winner, she’s joined by Miss Teen USA Ki’ilani Arruda who’s the second Hawaiian woman to win the teen pageant.
The Miss USA contest was scheduled for the spring but was pushed back due to the pandemic. Branch will represent the U.S. in the Miss Universe pageant.