Meet MISS USA 2020
Asya is the Miss USA of today and tomorrow. A kind-hearted, powerhouse of talent, conviction and intelligence, wrapped within a bombshell of immaculate natural beauty and spell binding poise. Her Mississippi beginnings as the sixth child of eight, in the small town of just about 9000 people, growing up on a farm, surrounded by horses and chickens, proved to be an idyllic setting for a future queen. However, less than ideal circumstances trimmed her childhood bliss short, with the incarceration of her retired military dad at the age of ten. These were only the beginnings of her life’s lessons in greatness, as throughout school Asya went on to immerse herself in academic greatness while also rounding out her leadership skills on the dance and track teams…
… So it came as no surprise when she was awarded the opportunity to attend Harvard Summer school at the age of 17. This experience not only broadened her appreciation for different people and cultures but also secured her educational vision for herself.
Currently a student at the University of Mississippi, Asya has come into her own understanding of the world and has found her voice at the epicenter of advocacy for criminal justice reform. She remarks that the first time she got to see her father was after his incarceration. Her sister was two at the time and now, being 5, she couldn’t recognize her own father. That’s when it struck her that something was very wrong and someone needed to fix it. As the child of an incarcerated parent, Asya brings her first-hand life-experience to the table as she fights for greater attention to humanity within the prison system.
She also brings her compassion to her engagement with both inmates as well as children of incarcerated parents. Asya’s platform goes beyond photo-ops and hashtags as she meets with government officials on reforming visitation rights, visits prisons to chat with and inspire their inmates, as well as provides books to school libraries which tell stories of incarceration, ensuring that those students have educational material they can relate to.
Beyond the lights and glamour of pageantry, Asya cherishes this platform as she wants all people everywhere to know that they are worthy of greatness. That regardless of where you’ve come from, once you believe in yourself, you hold the power to become whatever you aspire to be.
The first time we got to see my father was 3 years after his incarceration. My sister was two at the time and now, being 5, she couldn’t recognize him. That’s when it struck me – this is what’s wrong! Since then I’ve been energized to make a difference.