The competition aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, where organizers said they took precautions to keep people safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.
Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.
Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.
Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.
Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.
“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.
This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.
The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.
The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.