The first Black woman to be crowned Miss Mississippi USA is now the reigning Miss USA.
Branch shared her historic win with Miss Teen USA 2020 Ki’ilani Arruda, only the second Hawaiian woman to win the teen pageant. In an interview with Miss Mississippi USA, Branch revealed her father was incarcerated for 10 years. His experience inspired her to advocate for criminal justice reform, and in 2018 she met with President Donald Trump and other officials to discuss measures to help reintegrate former prisoners into society upon their release.
“I learned a lot about myself, but at the same time, while sharing my story and going through so much but not letting it stop me, I’ve been able to heal while also helping others find their way,” she said in the September interview.