Asya Branch, Miss Mississippi USA, was eventfully crowned the winner of Miss USA 2020 on Monday night. Predecessor Chelsie Kryst crowned the 22-year-old on the big night.
On Monday, November 9, the world witnessed Miss Mississippi USA, Asya Branch, emerge as the winner of Miss USA 2020 after the pageantry was postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.
The event, which took place at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, saw a five-person committee that judged the pageantry. It included Gloria Mayfield Banks, Lynette Cole Miss USA 2000, Abby Hornacek host of Fox Nation, Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, and Carolyn Aronson, the CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare.
Asya Branch performs during the Talent portion of the 3rd Night of Preliminaries at the Miss America 2.0 competition at Atlantic City Boardwalk Hal on September 7, 2018 in New Jersey. | Photo: Getty Images
Her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst had the honors of crowning 22-year-old Branch after hosts Allie LaForce and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila announced her as the winner.
The two-hour ceremony began with cutting the 51 competitors to 16 semifinalists, who all participated in a swimsuit parade to trim down the number to 10 contestants.
Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne came second place while Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis was third. Branch has been in the business of breaking records as she was the first African-American to win the Miss Mississippi USA title in history.
Now, with her new title, she is expected to relocate to New York and serve as an ambassador for the Miss USA brand and partner with several charity organizations. The Booneville native celebrated her victory with a statement that read:
“I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA.”
According to reports, the two-hour ceremony began with cutting the 51 competitors to 16 semifinalists, who all participated in a swimsuit parade to trim down the number to 10 contestants.
After the evening gown segment, the top five were announced, which included Miss Alabama USA Kelly Hutchinson and Miss Indiana USA Alexis Lete. In the final segment, the women discussed pressing issues in the United States and what plans they hoped to implement.
Branch discussed gun control and expressed her desire to have people pass safety classes and training. A video of the heartwarming crowning moment was shared on Miss USA social media platforms showing Miss Idaho and Branch facing each other with heads bowed as they waited for the announcement.
Branch looked spectacular in a black strapless sequin gown that showed her cleavage. In August, it was reported that the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions would feature a live studio audience with a significantly reduced capacity.
A spokesperson for the Miss Universe Organization announced that the event would strictly follow COVID-19 precautions and display Memphis's civil rights history with the help of Kryst and Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris.