Booneville’s Miss USA made her mark in the Miss Universe competition on Sunday.
Miss USA Asya Branch, a Booneville native and Booneville High School graduate, was selected among the top 21 out of 73 contestants in the annual Miss Universe competition.
Branch was recently celebrated in her hometown with a parade, dinner and meet and greet event before heading to the Miss Universe competition.
Branch won the title of Miss Mississippi USA in 2019 before claiming the top honor at the national pageant which was delayed due to the pandemic. Her Miss Mississippi USA win broke significant ground as she became the first African American winner of the event in its 67-year-history.
Branch previously earned the title of Miss Mississippi America in the Miss America system before going on to represent the state in the Miss America competition.
The pageant winner has often credited her father as the most influential person in her life and has used her pageant career to share a message of hope for other children of incarcerated parents. Her father was in prison for several years and she has worked to reach out to children in similar situations and be a voice to encourage them to rise above their circumstances.