Thursday, June 20, 2024

Miss USA crowns Gankiewicz

Savannah Gankiewicz of Hawaii crowned Miss USA after previous winner resigned

Amid a tumultuous two weeks marked by resignations and allegations against the Miss USA organization, Savannah Gankiewicz, originally the first runner-up at the 2023 Miss USA pageant, has been crowned Miss USA. Gankiewicz, 28, accepted the title with a commitment to make a positive impact, highlighting her background in mental health first aid and anti-bullying suicide prevention. She was crowned by Hawaii’s Governor Josh Green in Honolulu.

New Miss USA Crowned Amid Controversy, Miss Teen USA Role Still Vacant

Gankiewicz replaces Noelia Voigt, who stepped down earlier this month citing mental health reasons. Voigt’s resignation letter, obtained by CNN, accused Miss USA CEO Laylah Rose of fostering a “culture of fear and control” and cited inadequate travel accommodations and lack of an “effective handler,” which led to an incident of sexual harassment.

The Miss Universe organization and Rose have not responded to these allegations. Additionally, Miss Teen USA 2023, UmaSofia Srivastava, resigned, expressing misalignment with the organization’s direction. The Miss Teen USA role remains vacant as first runner-up Stephanie Skinner declined the title.

New Miss USA Said Decision to Take Crown Was 'Not Made Lightly'

On “Good Morning America,” Voigt and Srivastava’s mothers revealed that their daughters were bound by non-disclosure agreements and described their reigns as abusive and bullying experiences. The Miss USA organization has not commented on these allegations.

Despite support from many current Miss USA state titleholders, Miss Colorado USA, Arianna Lemus, resigned, stating her values were compromised and criticizing the silencing of women in the pageant.

Srivastava and Voigt at an event in New York in February. Their rep, Denise White, alleges that they are unable to speak out about their experiences.

Gankiewicz, who will hold the Miss USA title until the new winner is crowned in August, aims to focus on the rebuilding of Lahaina on Maui and support the 2024 delegates. Lemus has called for protective measures for future contestants, while Voigt’s mother advised against participating in the pageant under current conditions.

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