Asya Branch, a pupil at the University of Mississippi and Booneville native, was topped Miss USA on Monday, after the coronavirus pandemic delayed the occasion by a number of months. She’ll go on to represent the US in the Miss Universe pageant.
From the stage at Graceland Exhibition Center in Memphis, Tennessee, Branch fielded questions on how to mend the polarized country (restore belief in establishments like the media and authorities, she mentioned) and gun laws (her household owns weapons, she mentioned, however extra folks ought to learn the way to use them safely earlier than they get their permits).
In an interview with Miss Mississippi USA, Branch revealed her father was incarcerated for 10 years. His expertise impressed her to advocate for prison justice reform, and in 2018 she met with President Donald Trump and different officers to focus on measures to assist reintegrate former prisoners into society upon their launch.
“I learned a lot about myself, but at the same time, while sharing my story and going through so much but not letting it stop me, I’ve been able to heal while also helping others find their way,” she mentioned in the September interview.
The pageant was initially scheduled for spring 2020 however, like many different large-scale occasions round that point, was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Picking up manufacturing this fall, the Miss Universe Organization that runs Miss USA adopted some coronavirus protocols: Contestants wore bejeweled masks once they have been offstage and once they visited landmarks like the National Civil Rights Museum, and viewers members at Graceland have been advised to put on masks indoors and submit to temperature checks, in accordance to the facility. Graceland didn’t mention social distancing inside the facility in its Covid-19 protocols.
On hand for Branch’s crowning was Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019. Kryst’s reign was the the first time that winners of the prime magnificence pageants — Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America and Miss World — have been all Black women.