Asya Branch | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Asya Branch

Photo by Karen Jones

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Asya Branch is 2018's Miss Mississippi.

The Booneville native, competing as Miss Tupelo, won the title Saturday at the annual pageant in Vicksburg. She'll go on to compete for the Miss American title in September.

Branch is a broadcast journalism student at the University of Mississippi.

She dropped to her knees when her name was called and described the win as "unbelievable."

The new winner earlier won the swimsuit phase of the competition for the second time, also having won it in 2016.

Branch says she wants to increase awareness of the needs of children of incarcerated parents, citing her own father's time in prison since she was 10. She says she hopes to increase resources and mentors for such children.

Branch also hopes to go to law school.

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