The 22-year-old student who attends the University of Mississippi won the title Monday night at the Graceland Exhibition Center in Memphis, Tenn.
— Miss USA (@MissUSA) November 10, 2020
The history-setting winner made history as the first Black woman to be crowned Miss Mississippi USA and on Monday night, she was the first Mississippi contestant to win the overall title.
“I couldn’t believe that my name had been called,” Branch said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “I’m the first Miss Mississippi to have been crowned Miss USA and so, honestly I was just honored and overwhelmed and completely overjoyed.”
In an earlier interview with Miss Mississippi USA before the competition, Branch spoke about how she plans to tackle criminal justice and prison reform during her tenure as Miss USA 2020. Her father being incarcerated for 10 years has inspired her to advocate for reform.
“I will continue fighting for criminal justice and prison reform; that’s something that is near and dear to my heart,” Branch said on “GMA.” “I hope to continue making change within throughout my reign.”
Branch also told the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger, “It’s really an honor to be able to set this example for young girls to know that they don’t have to look like the person that came before them in order to accomplish their goal,” she said. “I truly am grateful to hold this title and continue to be a positive role model for all of our youth to know that their life circumstances doesn’t have to define them and that they’re more than capable of accomplishing anything that they set their minds to.”