Aysa Branch, the first African American Miss Mississippi USA, is currently preparing for her next stop in the pageant circuit while maintaining classes and a job.
Branch’s schedule consists of living her day-to-day life as if she has already won the Miss USA crown through the inspiration of former crowned women. Through her recent success, she has earned a modeling contract with MMG Model Management.
On top of preparing herself for the next round of competition, Branch maintains a full class schedule, a full-time and part-time job and hits the gym about four times a week.
“You know, you can do a lot more than you think you can. It’s pushing yourself to do it and making it happen,” Branch said. “No excuses.”
Branch will also be promoting her brand of “I Am More,” through the platform the crown has given her. The phrase is the head of the brand to reach those who may be dealing with difficulties and hardships.
“I am so much more than the hardships that I’ve been through, and I’m so much more than just a title,” Branch said. “ I’m so much more than just a job. There’s so much more to me than meets the surface.”
As the first African American woman to receive this particular crown, Branch said she sees this as society moving forward.
“I never would have thought in my lifetime that I would have been able to be a first winner when it comes to race,” Branch said. “If I could start any message along with it, it would be to inspire people to go after their dreams and their aspirations, even if the person that precedes them does not look just like them.”
Executive director of the Miss Mississippi USA pageant Kim Greenwood acknowledged that there have been multiple African American women who have reached the top five in the circuit.
“(Asya) has worked hard her entire life and does so many incredible things for the state of Mississippi,” Greenwood said. “I know that she will represent Mississippi beautifully at the Miss USA pageant.”
Branch is originally from Michigan, moved to Mississippi in 2003 and has been competing in pageants since first grade. Branch participated in pageants every year and was crowned the 2018 Miss Mississippi in the Miss America circuit.
“I fell in love with it,” Branch said. “(When) being on stage, being in the spotlight, getting dolled up and wearing pretty dresses, I just felt like I was truly in my element.”
After completing that circuit, Branch moved to the Miss USA organization. Unlike the Miss America circuit, Miss USA still includes the swimsuit portion, which is Branch’s favorite.
Branch will continue to make appearances,work with her modeling company and visit her sponsors until the next round of Miss USA. Branch will compete for the title of Miss USA in spring 2020. Miss USA will go on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.