by Linda Ikeji
Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020, months after the pageantry was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The 22-year-old was named winner of the competition at a ceremony which took place at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee on Monday evening.
She was crowned by her predecessor Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst at the event in which Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne was the first runner-up, while Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis was the second runner-up.
Asides being the first Black Miss Mississippi, she is also the first Mississippian to win the Miss USA title. In her final statement in the contest, Branch addressed 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. 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. But I think it’s our Second Amendment right and we just need more safety surrounding that.”
Branch displayed pure shock as her name was called out and she was promptly crowned. In a video shared on Twitter after she was crowned, Branch was asked “Who are you?” “Miss USA!” she proudly yelled.