Miss USA 2020 crowns Mississippi’s Asya Branch, 22, as winner

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 22-year-old woman from Mississippi was crowned the winner of Miss USA’s 2020 pageant.

The beauty pageant aired Monday night on FYI after being postponed months from its original spring date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The live show took place at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Asya Branch was crowned by reigning Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, 29.

Branch was reportedly the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi.

She comes from Booneville and has plans to relocate to New York City for her new duties, according to People magazine.

Branch discussed her stance on gun laws in a final statement before judges crowned a winner.

The Mississippi native has been outspoken in the past about her passion for criminal justice reform, even previously attending a round-table discussion on gun reform with President Trump in 2018, according to reports.

“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. I think that education should be available to everyone,” she announced Monday night.

“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…but I think it’s our Second Amendment right and we just need more safety surrounding that.”

The first runner-up was Miss Idaho, Kim Layne, and second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma, Mariah Jane Davis.

Both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions are usually held annually in the spring and early summer months. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the popular events were placed on hold.

In August, the Miss Universe Organization told Fox News that both competitions would air live from Memphis, Tenn., in November and The Guest House at Graceland, a AAA four-diamond resort and hotel will serve as the host site of the soiree. Miss Teen USA reportedly was held on Nov. 7.

Categories: Entertainment, Featured, Local News, Mississippi State News, News

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