Asya Branch, Miss Mississippi 2018, began to compete in beauty contests at a young age. She used her platform to speak on behalf of children whose parents were in prison because her own father, a man of strong faith, was imprisoned when she was 10. His absence during much of her childhood inspired her to create her social impact initiative, Finding Your Way: Empowering Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Browse our gallery of images that follow Branch along the path to activism.
A childhood photo of Asya with her father. The Miss Mississippi 2018 winner said she learned a lot about charity, compassion and community from him.
Asya is crowned Miss Mississippi 2018 by her predecessor, Anne Elizabeth Buys, Miss Mississippi 2017. It was while interviewing for the preliminary part of this pageant, when she realized her new platform should be to help the children of incarcerated parents feel less alone.
Asya was named Miss Mississippi on June 23, 2018, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. A few weeks before the Miss America competition, she went to see her father, who told her: "Asya, I'm happy that you're using your influence to better the lives of others."
Asya performed a song during the talent competition of the 2018 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Although she didn't win the pageant, she continues to work with a prison ministry to empower and support children of incarcerated parents.
Asya Branch speaks to women with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Asya with a group of middle-schoolers she spoke to. She said she writes to each inmate's child to encourage them.
Asya poses at home with her Miss Mississippi crown and her sash from the 2018 Miss America pageant. Photo by Tamika Moore
Click on a picture to enjoy more inspiring photos and stories.
Explore the collection of slideshows and discover inspirational quotes, beautiful photos, and powerful stories of hope.