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Savannah Gankiewicz Crowned Miss USA After Noelia Voigt’s Resignation

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Less than two weeks after Noelia Voight announced her resignation as Miss USA, Miss Hawaii Savannah Gankiewicz has picked up the crown. 

On Wednesday, the 28-year-old model and activist was handed the currently contentious title in a ceremony broadcast live from Waikiki. During the event, Gankiewicz was introduced by Miss Hawaii Jonelle Layfield (2008), Miss Hawaii Alicia Michioka (2003), and Hawaii’s Governor, Dr. Josh Green, as well as Miss USA president and CEO, Laylah Rose.

Gankiewicz humbly accepted the crown and sash from Green before taking to the stand to share words with those in attendance — including her friends, family members and community — who she says she is striving to make proud in this new role. 

“I am so shocked right now and I’m just so tremendously grateful,” Ganziewicz said. “While this decision was not made lightly, I firmly believe that this opportunity was meant for me and I’m ready to make a positive impact with this organization that I hold dear to my heart.”

She continued, “As I embark on this unique reign, I am dedicated to taking action and making a difference”

Savannah Gankiewicz accepts the Miss USA crown and sashMiss USA

The Hawaii native first shared the news that she would take over the position in an Instagram post last week, which arrived to mixed reactions from followers who urged her to reconsider amid reports that Voigt faced bullying both internally and externally in the organization. 

“Please know that my decision to accept the Miss USA crown was not one that was made lightly,” wrote Gankiewicz at the time. “I stand with Noelia and admire her strength to step down and prioritize her mental health. Noelia, it was the honor of a lifetime to share the stage with you during your crowning moment and I will you all the best in your next chapter.”

Just two days after Voigt resigned, Miss Teen USA, UmaSofia Srivastava, similarly shared that she would be relinquishing her crown, stating, “my personal values no longer fully align with the direction of the organization.” 

Unlike Gankiewicz, Miss Teen USA’s runner-up, Stephanie Skinner, quickly publicly declined to take over for Srivastava. 

“In light of recent events, I have decided to decline the title of Miss Teen USA 2023. This was not an easy decision,” Skinner wrote in a statement. “I hope for respect of my choice that this was a decision I never asked to make.”

The ceremony and pageantry follow a Tuesday appearance by the mothers of Voigt and Srivastava on Good Morning America where they discussed the alleged mistreatment of their daughters, which they claim led to their girls stepping down. 

“The job of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare,” Barbara Srivastava told GMA. “We could not continue this charade. The girls decided to step down, give up their dream of a lifetime, their crown, a national title, why would two girls decide to give that up?”

Both women said NDAs in their daughters’ contracts prevent them from directly speaking out about the “abuse” they endured while holding the titles. 

“She is (silenced) and she will be the rest of her life if this NDA is being left. The girls need to speak,” Jackeline Voigt said Noelia. 

UmaSofia Srivastava and Noelia VoigtCraig Barritt/Getty Images for Supermodels Unlimited

In a resignation letter to the Miss USA organization, Noelia wrote, “There is a toxic work environment within the Miss USA organization that, at best, is poor management and, at worst, is bullying and harassment… I was made to feel unsafe at events without an effective handler, and this culminated in being sexually harassed.”

Barbara further claimed that her daughter’s resignation — as well as that of Voigt’s– had nothing to do with wanting special treatment. 

“It’s about how they were ill-treated — abused, bullied and cornered,” Barbara said. 

The Miss USA organization said in a statement, “The well-being of our titleholders is a top priority.” 

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