It was a red carpet day in the City of Hospitality Friday as the community celebrated its hometown star.

A homecoming celebration was held Friday in Booneville for Miss USA Asya Branch as the Booneville native prepares to represent America on the world stage in next month’s Miss Universe competition.

The streets of downtown Booneville were filled with supporters as Branch, led by the Booneville High School marching band, waved and smiled from a fairytale horse-drawn carriage. After the parade through downtown she stepped from the carriage to greet and take photographs with residents on the red carpet before a private celebration at Market 105.

Branch said she was blown away by the love and support she’s received from the place she grew up.

“It’s so amazing. I’m so happy to be back home and to have all this love and support as I prepare to leave for Miss Universe. It’s still so surreal to me, but I’m over the moon and I just truly can’t believe the amount of support that I have here in Mississippi and in Booneville more specifically. I’m just so grateful for everyone that came out and has sent me messages and just show that they care and that they’re supporting me,” she said.

Branch became the first African-American to hold the Miss Mississippi USA crown when she won the state title. In November she was crowned Miss USA, Booneville’s first-ever winner of the national crown.

Last Friday’s celebration served as a kickoff event as she begins her road to compete for the title of Miss Universe. This year’s Miss Universe competition is set for May 16 in Hollywood, Fla.

The Booneville High School graduate is no stranger to state and national competition. She was crowned Miss Mississippi in 2018 and represented the state in the 2019 Miss American competition.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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